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Could it be true that there is a group of people keeping you from success? I can assure you that it’s true. Now, you may be thinking that I’m referring to your competition, your spouse, or maybe even your parents. Hang on to your seat because the only person I’m actually referring to is YOU.

Seriously, put some thought into this, you hold yourself back in all areas of your life and business. You do this in multiple ways which is why it’s like there’s a small army against you.

Here’s who is holding you back: (go read it!)

So, how do you deal with rejection?

Feel the disappointment all the way down to the ground. Get mad. Feel hurt. Voice how disappointed you are to friends that can listen. Don’t try to pretend it didn’t matter that much, or that your hopes weren’t really that high. Let your hopes rise, and let them crash….

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For a few years running I could’ve been nominated for Miserable Person of the Year.

Really, I had a stellar campaign going.  I was bitter. Frustrated. Angry at God, man and myself. My life wasn’t turning out to be the success-fest like I’d planned and somebody, everybody was to blame. But it didn’t take long to realize that being miserable all the time, funnily enough, is a miserable way to live.

Now after years of studying, writing and researching, here are what I believe are the seven habits of highly miserable people and how we cure each one:

1. Living as a Lone Ranger
2. Complain-ism
3. Having a Crazy Timeline
4. Obsessive Comparison Disorder

5. Waiting for Someone to Show You How

6. Failing at Failure

7. Becoming Comfortable with Crappy

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Storms provide the United States over 50 percent of their rainfall, distributing water to plants, lakes, and reservoirs.

Winds from storms create life by distributing seeds and pollen while removing old and weak vegetation to make room for new growth.

When lightning strikes, it actually liberates nitrates that help fertilize the soil. Storm updrafts remove large amounts of pollution, while storm rainfall washes more pollution out of the air.

Storms don’t just destroy. They heal.
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Here are some of my favourite (aka inspiring, informative, challenging and relevant!) reads from around the net this week:

who do you want to be

Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before

5 ways to share your faith without shoving it down people’s throats.

Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

7 Ways to Become An Indispensable Youth Leader – Pastors.com

It has been said that “nobody is indispensable” and, to a degree, that is a true statement. But I can tell you that, as a former pastor and current leader of a youth ministry organization (with 20+ employees), there are certain staff losses that hit the church or ministry harder than others. Losing these kinds of employees leaves a bigger hole in the ministry because they have made themselves more and more indispensable through working harder, smarter and longer.

This brand of youth leader is the last to get cut when finances go south in a church. Indispensable staff members (no matter what their position) have worked hard in the good times so it makes them almost impossible to let go in the bad times. And firing? Forget it! Unless there is some moral issue, you find a way to keep these employees happy. Why? Because they are working hard and producing results!

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible : A few simple habits to build into your Bible reading

Amid the hours of serious Bible study, I treasured this advice. Sometimes, we read to study and understand and wrestle with the truth. But sometimes, we read to make our hearts happy. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” for “your words are sweeter to me than honey.”

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10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one

9. Meditate- rewire your brain for happiness – Pray!

10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

How to be a Great Wife

I believe every married woman wants to be the best wife she can be, but it’s hard to have a clear picture of what that really means or looks like.

The media seems to bombard women with conflicting messages about what the “ideal woman” is all about. One moment you’re being told to starve yourself and spend all your time in the gym and salon so you can always look like an airbrushed model on the cover of a magazine. The next moment your role model is a CEO mom who is making millions and still “having it all” by being a wife and mommy too. You flip the channel again and you’re told that an ideal wife makes her own clothes and home schools her 20 kids.

1. Give respect to your husband.

2. Create a positive tone in the home.

3. Fall in love…with God!

How to be a Great Husband

We men tend to get our priorities out of whack sometimes. We can be passionately devoted to our work, our hobbies and our favorite sports teams and still neglect the priorities that should matter most.

We need to “Man Up” and love our wives and kids the way they deserve to be loved. I’m not just writing this to you, but i’m writing this as a guy who needs a daily reminder of all these things myself! Here’s how we do it…

1. Love your wife passionately and selflessly.

2. Protect your wife.

3. Stop acting like a kid.

4. Communicate.

5. Create romance outside the bedroom.

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Oh Yes You Can – Leading & Loving It

Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “be filled with the Spirit.” As we yield our lives to Him and allow Him to come in, he will become our file. God absolutely allows us to use our past hurts to help others. But, don’t sell yourself short on how God can and will use you. And don’t forget, my fellow pastor’s wife and friend in ministry, that according to 2 Peter 1:3, His divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness. Last time I checked, everything meant everything.

With that being said, I know some of you need for me to put some hands and feet to this. So, here are a few tips when handling situations that you may not feel equipped to handle:

  • Pray. I know that sounds very cliche. But every single time I meet with a woman, I pray and ask God to give me the words. All these years later, I still need to be led by His Spirit.
  • Don’t expect to fix them. You can’t fix someone’s broken heart. That’s God’s job. But as you pray throughout the meeting, God will give you the exact words or verses to share. I promise.
  • Be honest. If you don’t know what to say or why this is happening just say it. So much of the time people just need to know that someone cares enough to listen.

The Basics of Christianity – Paul David Tripp

If you had to define your faith with one sentence, what would your definition include?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines faith as a “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” The Bible defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Isn’t it interesting how both of those definitions don’t reference God in their initial description of what faith is or what faith does?

Now, ultimately, both of those sources end up associating faith with a belief in God. In its secondary definition, Merriam-Webster explains that faith is a “belief in the existence of God [or] strong religious feelings.” Hebrews 11 goes on to reference God multiple times in the Bible’s famous chapter on faith.

But here’s the point I’m trying to make – every human being lives by faith, with or without God.

Walking With A Limp

The first time I heard the phrase “Walking with a limp” was from John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, when he said, “Don’t trust a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp.”

His point of reference came out of Jacob wrestling with God in the form of an angel in Genesis 32. At the end of Jacob’s all-night struggle, God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and damaged it so that from that time onward Jacob walked with a limp. This encounter with God changed him in other ways too. He got a new name and moved into a new phase of his life. He was now fit to lead.

There is a remarkable quality that can come from the lives of people after they have wrestled with God and life and the resulting limp is an order to themselves and a sign to others that God has humbled them.

This would be cool with some of my grandparents' old post cards or snapshots.

7 Ways for Women to Find Soul Friends – Lisa Jo Baker

Soul friends pay attention to what you’re saying, not to what time the clock says it is.

Soul friends listen as long as it takes to make you feel heard.

Soul friends aren’t in a hurry to get to the point or to check you off the list.

 

How do I tell my story? – Suzie Eller

There’s power in sharing our stories.

Do you feel God leading you to tell someone?

It can be a fearful thing. What if no one listens?

What if some of the details are harsh?

What if it’s not that exciting?

What if communicating isn’t my thing?

All of these are questions I’ve asked myself as a God-girl with a story.

Do you know what freed me?

I finally owned my story.

 

The Moment that Saved My Marriage – 

A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

 

SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC THINKING

We are servants first.

Without understanding your identity as a servant, leaders (myself included) can use the “important but not urgent” category as an excuse to isolate themselves and be unapproachable and unavailable to the teams they serve alongside.

Much of ministry to people is unplanned.

My friend Darrin Patrick has said, “The most impactful conversations happen at the most inconvenient times.” Some of the best interactions are not on the calendar. Some of the most holy moments are opportunities disguised as interruptions. Without that understanding, leaders (like myself) can loathe the urgent, and those great opportunities would be missed.

If you approach the matrix with the foundation that you are a servant and that God works in the midst of the urgent, then the matrix can be very helpful. After all, it is possible to be both a strategic leader and a servant leader. One does not need to negate the other.

"Don't compare your beginnings to someone else's middle"... keep your head up, stand tall & work hard for what you want

How Goals Can Help You Define Success – 

  1. Define your success. Let’s say you have a “priority” of family. Fine. But what relationships make up that family, and how would you define what success means for those relationships? More specifically, ifyou are married, what would having a “successful” marriage look like? What characteristics would it have? Think about it and write down your thoughts.
  2. Make an action plan. Go over what you’ve written down and be honest about what needs to take place for this success to happen. Continuing with the example of marriage, if success is defined as having clear communication, quality time, and deeper intimacy, you need to choose actions that foster the growth of those attributes. In this case, scheduled date nights, family business meetings, and other ideas specific to your marriage will make this success a reality. Be sure to communicate clearly with those who will be helping you make these changes. It is really important to have support from others. You can’t just change an important area of your life overnight.
  3. Put it on the calendar and do it. Jerry Seinfeld became a better joke writer by writing daily. To maintain discipline he used a wall calendar which has the whole year on one page and hung it on a prominent wall. After he did his work, he used a big red magic marker to mark each day he’d done his task. Can you do that? Or something similar in your own life?

 

 

How Do You Know When You’re ‘Successful?’

How do you know when you’re ‘successful?’ Is ‘success’ internal or external (i.e., a feeling or recognition)? Is it a journey or a destination (i.e., a process or an event)? Though my search for answers admittedly continues, here are three truths about success that have helped me wrap my head around the concept and be more appreciative of my own accomplishments. I hope you find these ideas helpful and encouraging too!

 

 

THE SECRET PART OF BRAVERY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH MOST – Michael Hyatt

Jon Acuff Explains Why We Need to Step Out When We Feel Like Holding Back

  • Bravery is a choice, not a feeling.
  • Being afraid isn’t failure, staying afraid is.
  • Bravery has two parts.

 

 

Stop Reacting and Start Responding

Virtually all of your thoughts and feelings are conditioned responses to past experiences. It’s a normal strategy for dealing with new opportunities. But if your strategy is flawed, you’ll continue to get low returns on your efforts — both in your personal and professional lives.

Eventually, something will pop up and push you out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have a strategy to deal with new challenges, it won’t be long before you buckle under the pressure.

Stop reacting and start responding.

 

 

 

FIVE POWERFUL “C’S” FOR LEADERSHIP SUCCESS – Leadership Freak

  1. Cultivation: Grow as you go, not before. Find new capacity by embracing inadequacy. Sufficiency is the enemy of growth.
  2. Curiosity: The second solution is often better than the first. But, you can’t find the second solution when you’re defending the first. Stay open minded after you find an answer.
  3. Compassion: Show compassion while getting things done.
  4. Courage. Older leaders often say, “If I had it to do again, I’d take more risks.” The fear of failure motivates. Running from discomfort is the end of achievement.
  5. Celebration: Celebrate the contribution of others. You aren’t always the smartest person in the room, regardless of how smart you think you are.

Attitude determines altitude.

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The Power of One-Point Preaching

I got up off my knees, sat back down at my desk, and determined not to let that happen. I got rid of my alliterated points and boiled it down to one idea. Then I worked on it until I had crafted a statement upon which I could hang the entire message.

The next day, I told the story. I concluded with the idea that sometimes God will ask us to do things we don’t understand, and that the only way to understand fully is to obey. We will all look back with a sigh of relief or feel the pain of regret. Then I delivered my statement: To understand why, submit and apply. I repeated it several times. I had them repeat it. Then I closed.

When I left the platform that day, I knew I had connected. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I had stumbled onto something that would shape my approach to communication.

 

 

Andy Stanley on Communication (Part 1)

Preaching on Sunday mornings is such a simple thing and by complicating it, I think we all do ourselves and the audience a disservice. It is very simple. Here is the model: Make people feel like they need an answer to a question. Then take them to God’s Word to answer the question. And tell them why it is important to do what we just talked about. And then you close by saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if everybody did that?” And that’s it. It is a journey. You take people from somewhere to somewhere.

 

Andy Stanley on Communication (Part 2)

One of the things that we talk a lot about around here is what makes for a relevant environment?

There are three things:

1) an appealing setting,

2) engaging communication, and

3) helpful information.

So the two parts that relate to the sermon are:

1) Was the presentation engaging? and

2) Was the information helpful?

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One-Point Preaching

Andy offers a basic map, or outline, summarized by the words, ME-WE-GOD-YOU-WE. This map “is built around the communicator’s relationship with the audience rather than the content” (119).

  • ME and WE are about finding common ground with the audience (how the day’s topic connects with the communicator and as many people in the audience as possible).
  • The GOD section is where you talk about the text, God’s thoughts on the topic.
  • The YOU section is where the topic is applied to the audience.
  • The final WE section is for casting vision – “you paint a verbal picture of what could be and should be” (129).

 

 

Five Questions Andy Stanley Asks While Preparing a Sermon

A) What do they need to know? (Information)

  • What is the simple idea?
  • What is the one thing they need to know?
  • What one statement summarizes the message.

B) Why do they need to know it? (The motivation)

  • The key developing tension in the introduction
  • Give them a reason to listen
  • Why should they care?
  • Make them beg for the answer to their question
  • Show how society has gone wrong and give God’s answer to societies problems
  • If they aren’t convinced they need to know they will consider what you have to say irrelevant

C) What do they need to do? (Application)

  • Assign homework
  • What can we do to help them do it?

D) Why do they need to do it? (Inspiration)

  • What would it look like if everyone in our church did this?
  • How can you inspire people to act?

E) What can I do to help them remember? (Memory)

  • What can I give them?
  • Is there a memorable phrase?
  • Is there a specific image which will help people remember?
  • Write discussion questions for mid-week small groups

 

HOW ANDY STANLEY AND TIM KELLER PREACH WITH NON-BELIEVERS IN MIND

Despite all these differences, there is one thing Stanley and Keller agree on: preachers ought to be mindful of the unbelievers in their congregation.

Stanley and Keller may be worlds apart in terms of their theological vision for ministry, but they both maintain that a preacher should consider the unsaved, unchurched people in attendance.

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I love the Bits + Pieces I’ve read today, all by Brad Lomenick.  He is such the man.  His leadership insight is invaluable.   Click on the title links to read more!

 

20 Characteristics of an ALL IN Leader 

Are you a leader who is “ALL IN?”

I want leaders on my team who are “all in.” Coaches want players who are “all in” on their teams. Every organization out there wants employees and team members who are “all in.”

Being ALL IN as a leader means:

1. You don’t constantly look at the clock, and you’re not punching a time card. Your role is not defined by 9 – 5.

2. You get it done no matter how long it takes. You are “managerless,” meaning no one else has to worry about whether you are getting it done.

3. You realize you are part of something bigger than yourself, and humbly accomplish the goals because of a larger motivation than just you.

4. Giving just the “minimum” amount of effort required to get by without “getting in trouble” doesn’t even cross your mind.

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12 Keys for Successfully Starting something New

Are you starting a new organization? A Church Planter? Entrepreneur? Involved in a small organization just getting started?

Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Act like you’ve arrived. No one needs to know you’re just starting. When you’re small, act and think big. When you’re big, act and think small.

2. Hire people you like. Look for chemistry first in terms of creating your initial core team.

3. If at all possible, don’t work with your family. Start with competency, not relatives. And stay away from taking loans, venture capital, or seed money from family members as well.

4. Establish your values and organizational culture immediately. Build your organizational DNA early and often. And repeat.

5. Work hard, play hard. Have fun. Get things done.

6. Lean into interns. A great way to build capacity quickly. And to keep you young.

7. Establish partnerships. Look for opportunities to collaborate at every corner. Seek to build joint ventures.

8. Create benchmarks. Understand clearly who you want to be like, both personally and organizationally. Once you know, learn from them. Seek them out.

9. Celebrate constantly. Find the small wins as well as the big wins.

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20 Keys for Leading 20-somethings on your Team

Young leaders are the future. They actually are the present as well. Lots of leaders ask me how best to lead the millennial generation, basically those born after 1980. We gather thousands of leaders who fit this category on an annual basis, and most of the Catalyst staff are under the age of 30. I have the privilege to get to hang out with 20-somethings a lot, and I’ve noticed some things very particular to this generation.

I have to admit- I don’t always get this right. As a 100% Gen X’er, my tendency is to lean away from several of these points, and lead how I’ve been led over the years by Boomer and Busters. But I’m working on it….

So with that said, here you go, 20 keys for leading 20-somethings on your team 

1. Give them freedom with their schedule. I’ll admit, this one is tough for me.

2. Provide them projects, not a career. Career is just not the same anymore. They desire options. Just like free agents.

3. Create a family environment. Work, family and social are all intertwined, so make sure the work environment is experiential and family oriented. Everything is connected.

4. Cause is important. Tie in compassion and justice to the “normal.” Causes and opportunities to give back are important.

Exactly how I feel every-time I have a coffee: Time to get stuff done.

 

 

An Open Letter to All the People Writing (And Sharing) Open Letters About What’s Wrong with The Church

If you want to build community or grow in intimacy, just show up. Squeeze their hands. See their hearts. Pray for them. Ask about their stories. Hear the countless ways their hearts have been broken by the world and healed by God as they have walked with Jesus longer than we’ve been alive.

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23 Things That Love Is

  • LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
  • LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
  • LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
  • LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
  • LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

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How to Make the Most of Your Bible Study

We are pulled in many directions: work, family, ministry, fitness and many other activities tug at our schedules. The more we are tugged, the more we have to work to guard the time we give to personal study of our Bibles. When we are at last able to sit down to read, we want every precious minute to count. Whether we have 15 minutes or two hours, we want our efforts to yield the most benefit possible. But how can we make the most of the time we have to read and study?

Flowers by Passion | Cereal Magazine

Nothing About You Is The Gospel…And That’s Good News – Tullian Tchividjian

How often have you heard the gospel equated with a positive change in a believer’s life? “I used to __________, but then I met Jesus and now I’m ___________.” It may be unintentional, but we make a serious mistake when we reduce the good news to its results, such as patience, sobriety, and compassion, in the lives of those who have heard it. These are beautiful developments, and belief in the gospel does produce such fruit. But the results should not be confused with the gospel itself. The gospel is not a means to an end, it is an end in itself.

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Here Is What Happens When Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Makes A New Year’s Resolution

ENFP

“I resolve to make less than thirty new years resolutions this year, and keep at least two of them.”

Outcome: Stays up for fourteen straight days in an attempt to complete first resolution and subsequently ends up creating fifteen more.

ISTJ

“I resolve to be less regimented and spend more time relaxing.”

Outcome: Schedules relaxation between 3:15 and 3:42pm each afternoon, during which time they create detailed lists of how they will relax on following days.

ESFP

“I resolve to party less… On weeknights… Before 5pm.”

Outcome: Drunkenly announces their resolution to five hundred of their closest friend on Thursday January 1st, at the bar, at 4pm.

ENTJ

“I resolve to screw over marginally less of my colleagues as I fearlessly charge towards success.”

Outcome: Keeps a detailed chart of co-workers they are not preying on. Eventually hires a colleague to manage this chart as a distraction while the ENTJ rises above them professionally.

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NINE QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EXEGETE PEOPLE – Paul David Tripp

Here are nine helpful questions to ask yourself as you attempt to be a student and exegete of your people:

  1. What are the cultural idols that are particularly attractive to my people?
  2. Where do they tend to buy into an unbiblical worldview with its accompanying hopes and dreams?
  3. Are there themes of spiritual struggle that I need to speak to?
  4. Where do they tend to get discouraged and need the hope of the gospel?
  5. What is the level of their biblical literacy and theological knowledge?
  6. How many of them are actively involved in service, and how many are “ecclesiastical consumers”?
  7. What do they tend to struggle with in the workplace?
  8. What do they wrestle with at home?
  9. What are they reading, watching, and listening to, and how are they influenced by it?

These questions – or others will similar heart-focus and lifestyle recognition – will help you in your preaching, teaching, and counseling as you connect the transforming message of the gospel to the real experiences of the people God has entrusted to your care.

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Don’t Miss These Three Markers for Discipleship -Ed Stetzer/Pastors.com

What Are We Missing in Discipleship?

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so.

I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in many churches. There isn’t a whole lot of discipling going on, even though that’s precisely what we, as Jesus’ followers, were commissioned to do—make disciples.

So leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” There are plenty of successful models that have been tried in a variety of contexts. But how can we best make disciples right where we are?

There are plenty of discipleship books and models. But what can we learn about discipleship from Christ and the early church? In this series of articles, we are looking at four discipleship principles found in Scripture:

  • Maturity is a goal for disciples.
  • God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
  • God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
  • God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.
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