11.24.13

8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader   by Mark Howell

  1. Make time with God a daily priority.  ”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 NIV
  2. Follow the best example and offer a good example.  ”Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
  3. Have clear priorities.  ”But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
  4. Put the interests of others ahead of their own.  ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
  5. Know they haven’t arrived.  ”Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 NIV
  6. Clear up relationships.  ”Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
  7. Give and receive scriptural correction.  ”But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 NIV
  8. Follow spiritual leadership (within scriptural limits) and make it a joy for their leaders.  ”Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17 NIV

11.24.13

The upside of selfies: Social Media isn’t all bad for kids   by Kelly Wallace

(CNN) — I’ll admit it right at the start: When I think about teens and social media, I immediately begin to tally up the negatives.

What good could possibly come from teens and tweens spending gobs of time on online networks, posting nonstop “selfies,” some in rather suggestive poses, and often communicating with people they don’t even know?

A running joke at home: My girls, ages 6 and 7, can’t get iPhones until they’re 40.

But then I chat with other moms, who always know best, and a picture emerges that social media is not always the scary enemy some of us might think it is for our tweens and teens.

Take the “selfie,” for example, which if you haven’t already heard has been named Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2013. Really! Continue reading

11.24.13

What Screen Time is Doing To Our Kids…  by Walt Mueller

Last night I had the opportunity to speak about kids and technology (a short segment of our “Born 2b Wired” seminar) to parents and staff at a local school district. They were holding an Internet Safety Expo that was designed to pass on all kinds of resources to parents. . . who happen to be the most important people in a child’s life (something we seem to have forgotten in our culture). We talked about the need to set boundaries for our kids, not only to protect them from others (predators, hackers, bullies, etc.), but to protect them from themselves (impulsivity, bad decisions, lack of wisdom, etc.). Sadly, we all know children, teens, and adults whose online behavior has been costly to themselves and to others.

11.20.13

Transformational Teaching   by Wisdom Hunters Devotional

When the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority. Mark 1:21-22

Jesus taught as none other: clear, compelling and authoritative based on Himself, the living Word. He also explained the Scriptures with clarity and conviction in a way that caused demons to tremble and shriek, exiting the body of the one they possessed. The religious leaders were jealous of this new younger teacher whom they feared as competition. Yes, Jesus ministered the Word to crowds with His Holy Spirit inspired teaching and then loved them individually.

Transformational teaching handles the Word of God with humility. There is a reverence of God that points to Christ as the author and finisher of our faith. It’s out of a loving relationship with the Living Word, Jesus, that we are able to compassionately communicate the written Word of God. As we love the Lord with our hearts and minds, our teaching engages the heart and minds of our hearers. Thus, we bow before God in prayerful preparation, before we stand for God to teach. Continue reading

11.20.13

How the Hidden Dangers of the Comparison Game are Killing Us (and our daughters):   The Measuring Stick Principle

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/11/how-the-hidden-dangers-of-comparison-are-killing-us-and-our-daughters-the-measuring-stick-principle/

When our Hope-girl came in and sat at the foot of our bed, I knew she was looking for a way to stand.

“So what am I supposed to do now?”

I gathered her long hair in my hands, gathered her mane all in one long strand and twisted it slow, around and around, as if I could make a rope for a girl to hold on to. Continue reading

11.20.13

Time Management: Count the Cost  by Kurt Johnston

http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/time-management-count-the-cost/#sthash.XvLgQtGD.dpuf

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ ”  —Jesus

“Cost Management.”

The context of Jesus’ words in the above passage isn’t time management; it’s cost management. And even though the example he uses is a financial one, he’s talking about something way deeper, specifically the price to be paid for following Jesus.

Everything you decide to do with your time has a cost…there is a price to be paid. And although the cost can certainly be counted in time spent, that is only part of the equation, and there are often deeper things to consider. So this week I want to ask you to re-think your idea of time management. As you make plans and decide what to do with your time I’d like you to, as Jesus suggested, consider the cost. Continue reading

11.20.13

Stopping The Family Crazy Cycle  by Emerson Eggerichs

We have all seen the movie thrillers where the time bomb is ticking away and the hero has a few seconds to cut the right wire. Just before the final second passes, he defuses the bomb and shuts down the detonating device. Whew! Catastrophe averted!

In a real sense parents face defusing situations many times a day. We must not only decode why there is craziness in the family; we must defuse it.

God wired children to need love. Unfortunately, the sin nature of our kids leads to their disrespectful reactions when feeling unloved. At these moments God calls us to try to defuse their potential wailing and shrieking.

God wired parents to need respect. Unfortunately, the sin nature of parents leads to unloving reactions when feeling disrespected. We must defuse our potential rashness and our desire to bite back.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. — Ephesians 2:3

There are five steps you can take.

1.  Call a time-out.
2.  Do not automatically assume disrespect.
3.  Teach Family Crazy Cycle 101.
4.  Reassure your child of your love.
5.  Allow for imperfection. Continue reading

11.13.13

Resurgence Conference – 9 Objections to Christianity                                             by Mark Driscoll – article by MJ Want

In the final session of the conference Pastor Mark Driscoll shared of a number of new developments that he, his church (Mars Hill) and The Resurgence website would be working on. One of those is a project that will become a book, sermon series and small group studies on the 9 objections to Christianity the unchurched and dechurched (people that haven’t attended church for a considerable amount of time.)

The market research (done by some of the market leaders in research) has already been undertaken and after numerous survey’s, focus groups and interviews Mark shared the summary of the Top 9 objections to Christianity. I for one, am incredibly thankful for the time, energy and expense that has been invested and await eagerly the finalisation and communication in full of the data, it’s findings and how we as believers are to respond. So these are the 9 and below also a quote from different participants of the study.

Intolerance
“Some Christian groups are too intolerant”

Sex
“The Christian religion and I have different views on social issues like abortion and gay marriage

Politics
“I don’t like how some Christian groups meddle in politics”

Hypocrisy
“Most Christians are hypocrites”

Exclusivity
“There are lots of religions, and I’m not sure only one has to be the right way”

Inequality
“All people are not created equal in the Christian faith”

Scripture
“I don’t really share the beliefs that the Christian faith tells me I should”

Greed
“Christianity is about making money, not religion”

Irrelevance
“The Christian faith is not relevant to modern times”

I wish I could post the session as I greatly appreciated how in just 90 minutes Mark unpacked these objections, it would obviously help further explain what each subheading specifically spoke too. I look forward to this project and it’s findings being shared on the global scale in the first half of 2014.

I truly believe It’s important for us as believers to be engaging in the conversations our culture is having, and be able to speak the truth into issues, shortcomings and falsehoods people have about Christianity.

11.13.13

7 High Costs of Good Leadership   by Ron Edmondson

Personal agenda – Good leaders give up their personal desires for the good of others, the team or the organization.

Control – What you control you limit. Good leaders give freedom and flexibility to others in how they accomplish the predetermined goals and objectives.

Popularity – Leading well is no guarantee a leader will be popular. In fact, there will be times where the opposite is more true. Leaders take people through change. Change is almost never initially popular.

Comfort – If you are leading well you don’t often get to lead “comfortably”. You get to wrestle with messiness and awkwardness and push through conflict and difficulty. It’s for a noble purpose, but it isn’t easy.

Fear – Good leadership goes into the unknown. That’s often scary. Even the best leaders are anxious at times about what is next.

Loneliness – I believe every leader should surround themselves with other leaders. We should be vulnerable enough to let others speak into our life. But, there will be days when a leader has to stand alone. Others won’t immediately understand. On those days the quality of strength in a leader is revealed. This one should never be intentional, but when you are leading change…when it involves risk and unknowns…this will often be for a season a significant cost.

Outcome – We follow worthy visions. We create measurable goals and objectives. We discipline for the tasks ahead. We don’t, however, get to script the way people respond, how times change, or the future unfolds.

As leaders, we should consider whether we are willing to pay the price for good leadership. It’s not cheap!