06.23.13

Where To Find Great Sermon Illustrations   by Michael Lukaszewski

TheRocketCompany.com

As a preacher, I’m always looking for great sermon illustrations. So I thought I would send you a list of some of the top secret places I find sermon illustrations.  After all, there shouldn’t be trade secrets in the Kingdom of God. 

Here are seven go-to places for sermon illustrations. 

1. Your past.   

You may not realize it, but your life is full of wonderful stories that can illustrate great Biblical truth. Here is a great exercise to help you remember great stories from your past.  Just take out a sheet of paper and start writing down your oldest memories.  Go back to grade school and begin mind-mapping.  Write down things you remember from your room, your elementary school, your friends, Christmas, family vacations. 

2. Your family.   

If you have kids, you have living breathing sermon illustrations.  But be careful!  As they get older, they may resent being sermon content.  You might need to get the permission before telling a story about them in church. 

3. Books.   

Continue reading

06.23.13

Object Lessons for Talks. 

Bag of school supplies – God supplies our every need.

Bag of Tricks – Satan will use every trick he knows to get us to do what he wants us to do. Don’t be deceived by Satan’s tricks

Sandals – follow Jesus/walk with Jesus/The Lord is with us wherever we go

Tube of Toothpaste (once it is out you can’t put it back in) – Watch what you say – Making your words pleasing to God

Compass – Bible -the spiritual guidance system for our lives.

Toolbox – tools to cope with life/Bible/God is at work in your life

Scratch art paper – God looks at the inside – the heart

Puzzle – nothing is impossible with God/He is the answer

Crowns/Ruler – Let Jesus rule your life

X-ray/Magnifying glass – God sees everything/what is really in your heart/

Doorhanger – Jesus wants to enter your heart – let Jesus in

Masks – Continue reading

06.23.13

7 Things That Kept A Pastor From Leading Well  by Ron Edmondson

http://www.ronedmondson.com

“I failed to delegate” – Many pastors try to be a solo leader. They know the expectation placed upon them and they know what they want to achieve, and they begin to think if it is going to be done right they must do it. They begin to try to control every outcome. Sadly, it can even limit the leader’s willingness to walk by faith. It doesn’t take long until a pastor burns out, potential leaders disappear and people are never developed and discipled. It’s a recipe for eventual disaster in leadership.

“We couldn’t see beyond today” – Many pastors get a tunnel vision in leading people. They only see what they see. They don’t consider the unseen…the yet to be imagined…the hidden gems of opportunity. Again, often this is a matter of faith, or laziness, sometimes a personality wiring, or maybe just falling into a rut of routine. In the sameness of today, things become stale and eventually people become bored…and someday they disappear.

“I ignored the real problems” – The real problems aren’t always the spoken problems. They aren’t the obvious problems. The real problems are the underlying reasons behind a problem. They usually deal with heart problems. What people are really thinking, but aren’t saying. The real problems always involve people and often involve perceptions, which may or may not be reality.

“We resisted change too long” – Continue reading

06.18.13

Mentoring Girls 101   by LPMblog

(Of course, these ideas can really be applied to any mentoring relationship.)

I’ll start by sharing what’s worked for me: 

1) Be Real:

I don’t know if you know this, but you may think because of their young age that girls don’t pick up on if you’re faking it or not. But I’m telling you, they know. They pick up on it. They can smell a fake a mile away and they want nothing to do with it. So what does this mean? It means that although you might be their mentor and they the mentee, they want to know you! They want to know that you are not perfect. That you do not have it all together. That you sin. That you don’t always spend an hour in the word each morning. That you get mad and irritated with your family. That you have friend issues. That you are struggling to survive just like them. It means you speak these things to them. Obviously, there is wisdom and discretion in what you share and to what extent and how many details, but that doesn’t mean you can’t own up to your crud, too. It takes two to tango. Take that rare opportunity to learn from them as well! 

2) Ask Questions: (Ask hard questions!)

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06.18.13

6 Ways Effective Listening Can Make You A Better Leader   by Glenn Llopis

I have only included a segment of the original article. For the complete article click here.

Listening is a leadership responsibility that does not appear in the job description.   Those who do listen to their employees are in a much better position to lead the increasingly diverse and multigenerational workforce.

Here are six effective forms of listening that will help get you started:

1.     Show That You Care

When you care about your employees, they tend to work harder and aim to exceed your expectations.   Employees want to be led by those who genuinely care about who they are and what they represent to the team and organization at-large.   Don’t just view your employees as tools and resources for your own success – but as people and valuable assets who bring unique capabilities and aptitudes not necessarily limited to their job functions.

2.     Engage Yourself

Beyond caring, engage yourself in matters important to your employees.  When they share their opinions, ask questions and encourage them to elaborate and expand upon their perspectives. When you engage yourself more actively, hold yourself accountable and follow-up with your employees, they will know that you are listening, paying attention and attempting to understand what matters most to them.

3.     Be Empathetic

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06.18.13

Don’t Ignore the Fruit Growing On the Branches of the Tree!  by Rick Renner

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:20

(excerpts from June 12 devo)

Jesus taught very strongly that when considering people for any leading position, it is necessary that we first carefully look at the fruit in that person’s life. Even if the person is willing and eager to serve, the fruit in his personal life and attitude is exactly what you’re going to get when you put him into a position of leadership. So don’t ignore what you see!

Jesus taught that we can ascertain much about a person by looking at the fruit in his life. In fact, Jesus said it is possible to “know” people by their fruit. The word “know” is the Greek word epignosis, a compound of the words epi and gnosis. The word epi means upon; the word gnosis means to know and is the Greek word for knowledge. When you compound these two words together, they form the word that means to come upon or to happen upon some kind of knowledge and carries the idea of making a discovery.

In light of this, we must be very careful to look at the fruit of people’s lives when considering them for key positions in our churches, ministries, businesses, or organizations. You can make quite a discovery about people if you’ll just take the time to carefully observe their lives! If you want to know what is inside a person, just observe his attitudes and how he relates to other people. His fruit will tell you the truth about who he really is. Good fruit belongs to good trees, and bad fruit belongs to bad trees. It’s that simple. The fruit never lies. Continue reading

06.18.13

Infographic on The Rise Of The @Pastor   by Barna Group

For complete article click here.

“Social media is here to stay, especially as younger leaders come to be senior pastors,” comments David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group and the director of the Barna study on social media. “While many churches have embraced the platform in recent years, there are plenty who haven’t. The research suggests many faith leaders and churches are still resistant to social media or are using it without realizing its full potential. For example, at its best, Twitter helps people have real-time conversations about ideas and events that are important to them. Yet many churches don’t allow for a two-way engagement—using it instead as merely a vehicle for announcements. While many churches may be uncomfortable encouraging such digital interactions during their worship service, there are plenty of ways to engage with people and events (both local and global) on Twitter throughout the week.

“When used properly, social media should make organizations and leaders more transparent and more connected with the people they lead. In other words, using social media properly should make leaders more social. These platforms should be used to facilitate a conversation, not simply be a broadcast tool.

“Even as faith leaders take social media tools more seriously, there are at least two challenges. The first is to believe what happens in the digital space doesn’t count as real ministry. Most churches seem to be realizing this would be like shutting off the telephone or not having email. The equal and opposite reaction is also incorrect: to prioritize digital efforts above others and to equate digital tallies as indicators of ministry success. For example, the number of Twitter followers is not the same thing as a discipleship headcount. Learning to fine-tune the tension between these extremes—and dozens of related digital-ministry challenges—will be critical in the months and years ahead.”

06.11.13

Overcoming Burnout   by Justin Davis

For entire article click here.

What I realized is that burnout isn’t a condition of our calendar; burnout is a condition of our heart.

I was trying to DO all of these things to overcome burnout and in the process burnt out more. The things I was trying to do became heavy burdens I carried. I was forcing the rhythm of grace in my life and heart.

I felt God speak to my heart, “Stop focusing on what you are doing and start focusing on who you are becoming. I don’t want you to DO; I want you to BE.”

Overcoming burnout happens as we shift from doing to being.

Here are a few things God is challenging me to BE as I deal with burnout, I hope they are helpful to you.

1. Be Broken. 

Brokenness is simply remembering your need for God and your inability to be God. It is living as if grace is truly amazing and you’d be lost without it. Brokenness is a daily awareness of your desperation for Jesus.

2. Be Honest. 

Continue reading

06.11.13

Expecting More From Students   by JGorn                                                                      (A good reminder!)

For entire article click here.

“If you desire to follow me, student–if you want to follow me, teenager–than you must deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow me.”

The last thing student ministry needs is another behavioral modification model. We don’t need to substitute “Don’t drink, smoke or have sex” with “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus.” All we are doing is trying to force obedience from a different angle. No matter how much we tell students to do these things, if they do not desire to follow Christ, they will not do them.

In other words, what students need are hearts radically transformed by gospel with the knowledge that this means to follow Christ means to die to self and live for Him. Students need the gospel.

STUDENTS WILL RESPOND

If I’m honest with myself, and if you are too, part of you probably thinks this is the last thing a student or teenager wants to hear. The truth is, however, that those who truly want to follow Jesus will answer Jesus’ invitation. There will be students who are so radically gripped by the gospel that they will answer, willingly and joyfully, the call to die daily and follow Jesus.

How can we know students will respond? Well, why wouldn’t they? Do we think that the gospel cannot penetrate teenage hearts and minds? Do we think the gospel cannot grip a 14-year-old the same way it can grip a 35-year-old? For 2000 years people have been so gripped by gospel and in love with Jesus that they have followed the Lord’s commands. So what’s different about 2013?

Students will respond. Keep focused on calling students upward and showing them the worth of Jesus and they will answer.