Archive for January 2017

30
Jan
25
Jan

The 4 B’s Of Your Next Missions Trip

This past November, I had the privilege of visiting, Possibilities House For Children, which our church sponsors.   I had been in Mexico in 2008 and from the night our plane landed when we returned home I had been looking forward to going back. I will never be known as a “Preparation Genesis” but I thought I would put together some thoughts to help you get ready for your next missions trip.

The 4 B's Of Your Next Missions Trip

 

 

 

Be Prepared

  • Look up the ministry and familiarize yourself with their mission.
  • Look up the town and country and learn about the history.
  • Use an app like duolingo to learn the basics of the language.
  • Arrive at the Airport early.
  • There may be long waits at check in, security and customs.
  • Take the packing list seriously. (Bring your own toilet paper)

 

Be Adjustable

  • Weather can play havoc with your plans. (They were 3 days behind before we landed)
  • Timing of events can change on a dime depending on circumstances.
  • Food may be a stretch for your palate.
  • Don’t expect North American standards in a developing country. (If you can’t handle this stay home. – I’m serious)
  • Adjust to the fact that when you come home people may not be as interested in your trip as you will be in telling them about it.

 

Be Thankful

  • For the opportunity to serve (You’re not on vacation)
  • For you hosts who give up much to serve.
  • Every morning tell you hosts one thing you enjoyed from the previous day.
  • Show thankfulness by bringing a small gift for your host, leaving a thank you card, writing an email or adding them to facebook.

 

Be A Promoter

  • Journal your trip on twitter, Facebook or your blog. (Remember pictures are worth a thousand words)
  • Sponsor their ministry.
  • Talk it up to whoever will listen.

As a promoter let me encourage you to check out Possibilities House For Children they are doing a great job of rescuing, restoring and redeeming kids in Mexico.  They get 2 thumbs up from me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23
Jan
16
Jan
11
Jan

Truth Is – You’re Not To Busy To Pray

Truth Is – You’re Not To Busy To Pray

We all know we should pray but what we know we should do and what we actually do are two different things.  For me prayer in the morning works best.  If not, then my day starts rolling and I find it hard to slow down and get into the prayer zone.

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Sometimes my prayer life is like driving on the highway at 2 in the morning. Nothing to slow me down, nothing to distract me, it’s just smooth sailing.  Other times my prayer life is like driving downtown in the summer. Stop and go traffic, lots of detours and lots of distraction.

For all of us there is one lie we have either  believed, are believing or will believe in the future.

“I’m to busy to pray.”

  • My job is demanding.
  • I have small kids, life is demanding.
  • I have to care for my aging parents, life is very demanding.

Even though all of these situations may be true, we are still not to busy to pray.

Let’s consider one day in the life of Jesus early in His ministry, from Mark 1.

7899422014_9d0b940bec_bHere’s what His agenda looked like:

  • Morning – Teach in the synagogue and heal a demon possessed man.
  • Afternoon – Heal Peter’s mother-in-law, have lunch, take a nap.
  • Evening – Revival/healing meeting.

After such a busy day, here is what Mark records happens next:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

This is normally where the preacher would say, “Be more like Jesus, get up early tomorrow and start praying!!!!!!  Let’s close in prayer.”

“Ok, yes I agree we should be more like Jesus but my challenge still exists.  Where am I going to find the time?”

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I know this will be difficult but just imagine for a moment that you are “average”.  I know it’s going to be a stretch but try anyway:)

The average Canadians adult spends 30 hours a week watching TV.

The average 18-24 year old spends 31 hours a week online which includes 10 hours of watching TV.

The average Facebook user spends 400 minutes a month online. ( I think this one seems very low)

 

I think for all of us it’s more honest to say, “I choose to __________ instead of pray.”

My purpose it not to make you feel guilty but to remind all of us that there is enough time to pray.

The challenge of prayer will always be before us.

So what can we do to make prayer more consistent in our lives?

Finding time is a world that screams 24 hours a day for our attention is difficult but making prayer a priority will be the best daily decision you will ever make.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Wiedmaier / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: DigitalRalph / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: alirod11 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

11
Jan

How To Pray For The Prodigal In Your LIfe

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To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.  The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. (Luke 15:11-12)

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“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.  About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. (Luke 15:13-14)

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About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.  The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:14-16)

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 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! (Luke 15:17)

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 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,  and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’  “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.  His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.

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“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.  His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.  And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,  for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

These are dangerous prayers but if we are not praying for the prodigals in our lives who will?  With prayers like these things may get worse before they get better but remember the words of Jesus.

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.” (Luke 18:1)

 

 

11
Jan

6 Links For Day 6 (February 20/16)

 

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14 Reasons Why Pastors Avoid Preaching About Money  by Beth Colletti

“The atmosphere was colder than an arctic winter.  Palpable hostility was written all over some faces.  Yes that’s right.  I was preaching about money.  It was the first series I’d ever done on the ‘forbidden’ topic.  I know that preaching about money is one of the topics that pastors avoid and even hate.”

5 Ways To Grow As A Leader in 2016 by Justin Trapp

“Confession…I am addicted to progress. I want things to move forward and feel myself getting frustrated when they don’t. Surrounding myself with people and organizations that share this value is very intentional for me. Chances are, if you are reading this, you value growth as well.”

Ministry Blogs and Podcasts You Should Follow by Issac Hopper

“As I have  said before, I don’t think leaders should lead in isolation. We should always be learning and growing and leading with others. I still think there is tremendous value in doing this in-person with other leaders. But I have also found a lot of benefit in free resources available online.”

8 Myths Every Millennial Believed About Adulthood by Jesse Carey

“Most millennials grew up with an exciting sense of promise: The economy was booming. The Internet was changing the way we communicate. MTV still played music videos (TRL forever!).

But culture, the economy and even MTV have changed dramatically. More and more millennials still live with their parents, have abandoned faith and are not in relationships. For many, life isn’t turning out how they thought it would.”

“Some Sundays you feel great after preaching. Yet there are days when things just don’t go the way you had imagined them and you’re at a loss. Maybe you simply feel vulnerable. Maybe you saw someone wince at one of your carefully crafted statements. Maybe you just felt like you flopped.”

 

“Does the God of the Old Testament need anger management? I have no easy answer. But I do know that we must take the text as it actually presents itself. If we let it stand on its own terms, we begin to find clues.”

 

 

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Disclaimer – These posts do not necessarily represent what I believe but are presented to stimulate our thinking.

11
Jan

Top 5 Tips For Visiting Seniors

I love older people because they have wisdom of which I am always in need of and they tell stories which I love to hear.  So please take this tongue and cheek post in the spirit in which it’s presented.

Tip #1

As you ring the door bell or get off the elevator erase all former conversations from past visits, this will help because you will  hear the same stories again.

Tip #2

Establish common ground by learning to love puzzles and the more pieces the better.

Tip #3

In order to achieve the proper speaking volume start soft and when they stop leaning in, cupping their ears, giving nonsensical answers you have hit the proper level.

Tip #4

Do not eat a big lunch before going out for a visit.  Senior’s like it hot and the combination of the heat and less blood in your brain because of digestion is not a good situation.

Tip #5

Watch out for this subtle Senior’s trick.  From the very beginning they will time your visit. If your visit is not long enough for their liking they will begin to offer you a snack 5-7 minutes before your regular leaving time which will actually add an extra 20-25 minutes to you stay.

D you have a tip for us?  Please leave a comment and share it.

 

11
Jan

3 Reasons It’s Tough For A Preacher To Talk About Money

3 Reasons It’s Tough For A Preacher To Talk About Money

It’s an issue we all deal with.  It’s an issue that causes stress in marriage.  It’s an issue that worries university students.  Yet, most pastors I know find it difficult to talk about money with their congregation.  There are many reasons why this feels like a herculean task but let me give you just 3.

3 Reasons A Preacher Should Talk About Money(1)

 

 

 

TV Preachers

I am not like some preacher friends I know, who would love to see all television preachers removed with “extreme prejudice” from the airwaves. However, I understand their feelings.  I recently, saw a video of a preacher defending his income tax return, including the $30,000 in clothes for his Television Ministry, the $50,000 they spent to turn his Mercedes-Benz into a limo and his over 2 million house which he called a “ministry resort centre”.

And then there’s this…

 

Church  Horror Stories

A friend told me about being in a very large church and how the offering time offended her greatly.  The church was a family business and they had everyone come down the aisle and if you gave over $100 you put your offering in the Senior Pastor’s bucket and if it was under $100 you put it in his son’s bucket.  I wonder how many people broke the 9th Commandment – Thou shalt not lie, that Sunday morning?

Then there was the contractor who was doing work in a church and in the foyer they had a list of family names and what each family gave each Sunday!!! (I’m not making this up and oh how I wish I was.)

 

 

Money Is A Sensitive Issue

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The Bible is full of topics that cut to the heart and cause people to be uncomfortable but money has to be at the top of the list.  That’s probably why Jesus talked about money and possessions so much.  People will trust God with their eternal salvation but not with their money.  Funny isn’t it?

What other reason would you add as to why it’s difficult for a preacher to speak about money?  No matter how hard it may be as ministers we have a responsibility to speak on money.  More on that next week.

Related Post:

3 reasons not enough for you?  Here are 14 more from unseminary

“I Don’t Like To Talk About Money But I Did Anyway”

Photo credit: Philip Taylor PT via Foter.com / CC BY

11
Jan