Monday, June 24, 2013

Barriers to Following Jesus

Sunday, June 23, I had the opportunity to preach a sermon based on Luke 9:57-62 called, Barriers to Following Jesus. As is the sermon, this message is based off Kevin Idleman's book, Not a Fan. Basically, this message focused on the barriers of poverty, priorities, and pursuits. To follow Jesus we must be willing to let go of our comfort, conditions and control, and deny, abandon, and refuse ourselves. Here is a link to the sermon: Barriers to Following Jesus.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dealing The The Pressure Cooker Reality of Ministry

I read an article by Carey Nieuwhof and wanted to share it online. It details the biggest mistake/struggle a longtime minister has made. He described it as “knowing how to handle the pressure of ministry.” Here are some exceprts and major points from his post:

Ministry brings pressure that seems to be unique to the calling. I love ministry and am so thankful to have been called into it, but with it comes pressures that is well, just different. Here’s my theory as to why ministry is such a pressure cooker for many. Ministry combines three areas of life that are intensely personal:
  • Your faith
  • Your work
  • Your community
Because of that, it gets confusing. 
  • What you do is what you believe.
  • What you believe is what you do.
  • Your friends are also the people you serve and lead.

Throw your family into the mix (because they believe what you believe and are friends with the people you/they lead and serve) and bam — it’s even more confusing. Due to this, things that normally happen "at work" very seldom stay "at work." The pressure can lead to problems that impact your home, your life, and even your faith.

Here are six habits that have helped me learn to handle the pressure of ministry well:  
1.     Understand the perfect storm of work/faith/community: Church world is the only place I know of where what you believe is what you do and the people you serve are also your friends. You need to understand this. Understanding why something is emotionally confusing is the first step toward untangling the confusion.
2.     Find friends who aren’t in your church or organization: Be friends with the people you live with and serve, but find some friends you can talk to about anything.
3.     Don’t base tomorrow’s decisions on today’s emotions.
4.     Seek a Christian counselor.
5.     Develop a devotional life that has little to do with work: One of the casualties of serving in the church is your devotional life. You get too busy or you "cheat" and make your sermon or lesson prep your devotional time as well. Don’t. God loves you for who you are, not for what you do.
6.     Develop a hobby or interest outside of work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chloe Asked Jesus to Save Her!

June 21, 2013 was Christy & my 10th Anniversary. It was a Friday, the Friday of VBS at our church. All week long Chloe had been asking about Jesus, something she had actually been doing for a couple of years (but I kept thinking she was too young for the talk). Anyway, on this Friday morning, Christy and I made a point to sit down with Chloe and talk about Jesus together. We asked her why she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart, why she thought she needed it, and why should would not do it.

With boldness and confidence our sweet Chloe girls calmly explained her need for Jesus. She told us she knew she was a sinner and need Jesus to wash away her sins. She told us she knew that Jesus needed to the boss of her life. She expressed a genuine child-like faith in God and His Son Jesus... then she asked Jesus to save her and her eternity will never be the same! (The picture was taken by Christy while we were praying, I love it!)

This was one anniversary and moment Chloe, Christy & I will never forget!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Old Reader

Google is killing my favorite website, Google Reader. All I have been able to discover on the rationale is that the service simply is not popular enough to justify continuing the free service (anyone else amused by my irritation the free service is going away). The funny thing is that there seems to be a bunch of people hacked off by Google's decision, which has not mattered to them (and why should it, will people actually go back to aol).

Personally, I have drug my feet on making a change until this morning's reminder from Google told me the service would be dead July 1. After reading through some blogs (tons of people hacked off at Google), I found the perfect answer to my problems: THE OLD READER!

The Old Reader is just like Google Reader, except it is not being killed off July 1. My favorite part of the website is the irony of the people who created it... they are running the website on Google's Sites. Hey Google, Good call to Kill Reader... Said No One Ever.