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7 Arrows for Bible Reading – Gospel Coalition

The seven arrows of Bible reading were an attempt at developing a tool for proper hermeneutics to power these relationships. We did not want our people to simply talk about the Bible. We wanted them to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives. Each cluster would read a predetermined passage of Scripture and discuss it using these seven arrows.

The goal was for the clusters to start by summarizing the main point of the passage as succinctly as possible, ideally in one sentence.

5 Things Your Habits Say About You – Relevant

Behavioural therapists and others who study human behaviour will tell you there’s only one difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. “It’s all about their habits,” they say.

1. They reveal what you value least—and most.
2. They reveal where you spend your time.
3. They reveal the state of your mental health.
4. They reveal the state of your spiritual health.
5. They reveal the state of your physical health.

EVERYONE IN YOUR LIFE WANTS ONE THING FROM YOU by John Michael Morgan

No one ever talks about it but it’s there. Intensely burning within every person on the planet regardless of their age, sex, race, status, or job. Everyone wants it and they want it from you.

I’m talking about RECOGNITION.

Everyone wants to be recognized and acknowledged. This is why a simple smile, making eye contact, or just saying “hello” to a passing stranger matters. It matters because it matters to them!

Because of this desire we all have, you can motivate and influence those around you by simply giving someone recognition. When someone feels acceptance, recognition, and appreciation from you they are more likely to support you, help you, or anything else that you’d like them to do.

Questions to Ask When Preparing for Marriage by John Piper

Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples is a new ebook from Desiring God aimed at aiding couples – whether dating and considering marriage, or engaged and preparing for marriage – to get to know each other better in some of life’s most significant matters, and be more fit to discern God’s leading for their lives.

Along with the questions contained in this blog post, we’ve packaged three additional resources from John Piper in hopes of enriching such important preparation.

Lifestyle

  • Own a home or not? Why?
  • What kind of neighborhood? Why?
  • How many cars? New? Used?
  • View of money in general. How much to the church?
  • How do you make money decisions?
  • Where will you buy clothes: Department store? Thrift store? In between? Why?

Don’t You Want Your Daughters to be in Love on their Wedding Day? by Gary Thomas

If the main reason you’re getting married is because you’re “in love,” what happens when the infatuation fades and you don’t feel that same “in love”? What’s going to keep you in the marriage then?

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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.

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.

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5 Tips to Prevent Ministry Burnout

You went into ministry with a passion to serve people and lead them to Christ. You knew that would require diligent work and would likely involve some heartache. We live in a messy, fallen world so dealing with people in their mess and helping them get out of it isn’t an easy endeavor. Working with limited time and resources, combined with the overwhelming needs of your community can wear out the most dedicated individual.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants It, but Nobody Seems to Get Any – Michael Hyatt

I know what you’re thinking, but I’m talking about margin—breathing room, think time, downtime, those moments we all desperately need really stay effective and enjoy the things that matter most.

But the truth is we seem to be getting less and less of it. Not only are prices racing while wages slow, but we’re working more hours, too.

We’re used to thinking “full time” work means forty hours a week. With that kind of commitment, we still have time for ourselves and families. But there has been a significant creep on our weekly work hours.

Nowadays the average American worker is clocking closer to 50 hours a week, according to a Gallup survey, and for some it’s even higher. A quarter of salaried workers put in more than 60 hours a week!

And what about those of us who are entrepreneurs? It could feel good to cram the calendar or scary to clear it out, but either way we’re often drowning and in desperate need of margin.

 

 

 

YOU BE YOU: THE VALUE OF AUTHENTICITY @ Corie Clark, Guest Post by Kevin Buchanan

I don’t know about you but I get tired of seeing fakes. You can normally spot them from a mile away. They are so busy trying to be what everyone else tells them to be that they have completely lost who they really are.

I used to be that way. Although I grew up with a sense of who I was, I still occasionally fell into the trap of being what others expected me to be. It took many years for me to consciously start living in the truth of who I was and who God created me to be.

Maybe that was you. Or maybe that IS you. Years of being what others wanted you to be, or told you that you should be have left you looking in the mirror, staring at an unfamiliar face.

Who is the real you?

Who are you meant to be?

What are you meant to offer the world?

 

 

The Narrative Fallacy: Why You Shouldn’t Copy Steve Jobs –

This kind of hero worship can be a good thing, it can be a guiding light. But this has also given rise to the dramatic oversimplification of entire lives. Headlines like “8 Ways to Think Like Warren Buffett” and “The Socratic Method of Great Living” garner retweets and clicks but they create a terrible feedback loop of writers cherry picking moments from someone’s life, distilling it all down to a blog post or even a book, and then a willing reader to believe that advice is the key to success.

What happens is we have wantrepreneurs and armchair creatives thinking they are walking in the footsteps of the greats by focusing on “productivity hacks” instead of, you know, doing the work.

 

 

THE COST QUESTION: ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE FOR YOUR DREAM?

Thirty years ago, Mary Lou Retton vaulted into stardom at the 1984 Olympic Games, becoming the first American to win gold in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. She wowed the world with her amazing mix of grace, power, and dexterity. Her Olympic triumph, combined with her buoyant, bubbly personality made her an instant media sensation.

The speed with which Retton attained celebrity masked the years of sacrifice, dedication, and determined effort during which the little girl from West Virginia had developed into a world-class athlete. In the words of Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford, May Lou Retton had “worked a lifetime to become a darling overnight.” Her Olympic victory had come at a tremendous cost. It caused her to move halfway across the country from her parents, required her to miss our on a normal childhood, and exacted a significant toll on her body. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Only 7 Things We Truly Can Control in Life—and How to Rock Them All

in my experience, life can be pretty complicated. Although most of us have plenty to manage in our day-to-day lives—jobs, relationships, family, exercise, sleep, you name it—there are really only a few things we truly have control over. I changed my life by identifying these variables and learning how to master them. And I think you can too.

Happiness and success (however you define either one) have a lot to do with each other. In fact, greater happiness has been found to lead to greater success. I think both can be achieved with some simple and straightforward habit hacking, or  making small tweaks to your routine which, little by little, add up to major changes in how you’re living your life.

We make millions of little decisions all the time, and the result of each one is either net positive, net negative, or neutral. The more net positive decisions we can make (and the fewer net negative ones), the better. Net positive decisions may require some effort: Brushing your teeth before bed, eating healthy meals, and regularly going to the gym are a few examples of actions that help you feel good and bring you one step closer to your goals despite the effort they entail. Net negative decisions—filling up on food that doesn’t make you feel good, skipping the nightly teeth-brushing, letting that downer friend cramp your style, or forgoing the gym—make it difficult to reach your goals because your decisions don’t make you feel good, empowered, or confident. They take more out of you than they give, interfering with your energy levels, sapping your motivation, and clouding your focus.

 

 

Get Up & GO!

The kitchen looked like a war zone. It was 10 A.M., and last night’s dirty dishes were still piled on the counter. I was in my bathrobe, my son was in his pajamas, and I didn’t have one speck of energy or motivation to handle the five thousand things demanding my attention. As I shuffled along, picking up dishes, I moaned softly to myself, Why am I so tired?

Thankfully, we don’t have to drag ourselves through life constantly running on empty. In fact, the Bible actually promises us “abundant” life. John 10:10 says, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly”(NASB).

Obviously, prolonged, extreme tiredness may be a symptom of a larger problem such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or depression. In those instances, you should seek medical help. But what about the otherwise healthy body that daily desires an afternoon nap or a fresh burst of energy (that’s not caffeine-induced)? I’ve discovered a few tips that have increased my energy. If you’ve been dragging lately, they may energize you too.

 

 

 

5 Things I’m Learning in This Dance With My Strong-Willed Daughters – We Are THAT Family 

  1. Not everything is a battle–but it can be if we make it one. If we are in constant battle about the same things–messy rooms, laundry and attitude, we might win a few, but it might cost us a relationship. Leave the small things, small. That’s not to say we let them have their way all the time, instead we focus on what really matters.
  2. Not everything is personal–but it can be if we take offense. That eye roll or audible sigh–it’s normal. That doesn’t make it right or less frustrating. But most words flung are coming from a hurt or misunderstood place. If we choose to be offended by every word or action, we are choosing something much bigger. Look past the words and get to the heart of the hurt.
  3. Not everything can be won–and if we try to win it all, we will ultimately lose. We are raising, unique, one-of-a-kind girls who will surprise and satisfy us. We have to step back and let them learn and grow and mess up. Most of all, we have to help them find the beauty in every place, especially the hard ones.
  4. Not everything is eternal–but everything is significant. Things in her world might seem small to us. And they probably are–that zit, that boy, that mean girl, that first B on her report card. But if we make what’s important to her insignificant to us, we wound.
  5. Not everything is understood and that’s why listening is the best gift. We may not always understand the drama, the emotion, the passion over the trivial. And that’s okay. We can offer them what they really want and need–it’s not a fix to their problem, it’s a listening ear. Some times the best thing we can do is close our mouth and let them talk.

 

 

 

“How do you balance family life and ministry life?” [PART 1] Q&A With Bobbie Houston #2 

This has to be possibly THE most frequently asked question in forums like this, and especially by young women in that fabulous season of early motherhood. However having said that, the question applies to pretty much every season of life, because there isn’t a season in any of our lives, where we don’t (or shouldn’t) feel something of the stretch and pressure of that new season.

Have you noticed that one word dominated this first paragraph … Seasons!!

FAMILY LIFE is full of seasons and MINISTRY LIFE is full of seasons … and the “art of balance” is to recognize, discern, adapt, navigate, appreciate, be thankful and of course, apply WISDOM to whatever season or “collision of seasons” you are experiencing.

 

 

HELP YOUR KIDS SAY ‘NO’ TO PORN – The Gospel Coalition

The first time porn was served at the cafeteria lunch table, my son was 11 years old. Does that seem young to you? Research suggests that one in three children ages 11 to 14 have viewed pornography on a mobile device. Add to that the very real possibility that a child will stumble across explicit content on YouTube or in a pop-up ad during innocent computer usage, and one thing becomes clear: parents must be proactive in talking about porn with their kids.
I’m not a fearmonger when it comes to parenting. In fact, I think fear is a terrible motivator for making parenting decisions. But if children are being exposed to porn at young ages, the loving thing to do as a parent is to equip them to know how to respond. The most frequent parenting question I’m asked is, “When should I talk to my child about sex?” My adamant answer is, “Much earlier than you might think.” If you’re concerned about your child being exposed to porn, you have to talk about sex, and you must do so early.

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Are You Going Through Hell Right Now?

My year hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The company I founded,These Numbers Have Faces, went through stages of great growth last year, but the maintenance of it all has been really challenging.

For months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Anxiety has come roaring back into my life and all the while, there are hundreds of talented students on the waiting list to join our programs in Africa.

To top it off, my wife and I are expecting our first child in only a few weeks time. We’re thrilled of course, but the future is downright scary.

Worry, fear, dread, regret.

We’ve all been there.

 

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Knowing What You Want Will Keep You From Making Bad DecisionsDonald Miller

Ever wonder why Joseph didn’t sleep with Potiphar’s wife? He certainly could have. She came on to him often, and finally got so tired of his rejections that she lied and said he tried to rape her. Joseph ended up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

But what gave Joseph the strength to not give in to temptation?

First, Joseph knew what was his and what wasn’t, and Potiphar’s wife was not his, and Joseph had a great deal of respect for Potiphar. Second, and second is important, Joseph knew his own destiny.

He’d been told in a dream he would become a powerful man. And that was beginning to happen in Joseph’s life. Joseph ran all of Potiphar’s affairs. He may not have known it then, but he was in training to run all of Egypt.

One of the most important elements of story has to do with what the main character wants. Does he want the girl? Does the football team want to win the state championship? If we don’t know what the main character wants, the story is boring and dull and it’s torture to sit through.

The same is true for a human life.

 

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Why You Should Flush 90% of Your To-Do List Down the ToiletMichael Hyatt 

“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in,” McKeown says. “And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.”

That’s the crucial difference between blessing and burden. We can fill our time with very good things and end up saddled, straddled, and stressed. That’s because good things might still be trivial.

As McKeown shows, Essentialism is a lifestyle focused on discerning the difference between the “many trivial” and the “vital few.” Essentialists are committed to the vital few in every circumstance they can manage.

The benefits include not only lower stress, but the satisfaction of developing real excellence and making a vital contribution through our callings.

 

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Why marriage is hardTyler Ward 

I broke up with my wife twice while we were dating. That often comes as a shock to those close to us, particularly because they can’t figure out why she dated me in the first place. I can’t either.

She was everything I wanted—everything I had dreamed of in a woman. Electric personality. Exotically gorgeous. Well-travelled. The uncanny ability to light up a room. A faith that was real and seasoned. The strength of conversation (she kept it going so I didn’t have to). The list went on, and as it did, I became more and more convinced I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life waking up next to her.

Yet, even then, I broke it off twice. Why? (I feel two-thirds embarrassed and one-third extremely embarrassed to admit this)

Because it wasn’t easy.

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Why You Need a Sabbath – Relevant

Whether we are in school, raising a family, in the midst of our career or balancing a combination of these, we have been given many opportunities for stewardship.

For those unfamiliar with church speak, or who haven’t had the jargon explained to them, stewardship means a responsibility for another’s property. This makes sense when we realize that everything we have has been given to us by God. He wants us to use these gifts and do great things with them.

Time is one of those gifts. Discipline, diligence and excellence are ways in which we use his “property” to please Him. Being a good steward, though, means also doing something seemingly counter-productive with our time. We must rest.

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Don’t Limit Your MinistryPaul David Tripp 

Portions of God’s redemptive plan might be a mystery for us, but there’s really no confusion*about how we fit into that plan. The Apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20).

An ambassador only does one thing – represent. A good ambassador will represent the will, desire, work, and agenda of the leader and nation that sent them. For Christians, our only calling is to represent, or reflect, the character of God here on earth.

 

 

The Myth of Passion and Motivation: How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.

When I was an athlete, I loved going to practice the week after a big win. Who wouldn’t? Your coach is happy, your teammates are pumped up, and you feel like you can beat anyone. As an entrepreneur, I love working when customers are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.

But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?

Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?

It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference.

 

 

WHAT YOU DO IS NOT WHO YOU ARE – Lisa Bevere

Who we are in private much more accurately represents who we really are than what is seen in public does. Poor decisions made in private almost always lead to lack of favor in public. Are the sinful choices to gossip, cheat, or steal made publicly or privately? Such choices begin in the privacy of our thought lives.

The adverse is also true: we have the ability to cultivate our lives in private. Through right relationship with God, our thought lives can be purified. Our motives are weighed and revealed when we spend alone time with Him.

When we don’t spend time with God, we will try to fill the lack inside with other things that do not satisfy, like the approval of others. Only God can satisfy our deepest longings and heal our most painful hurts. When we take the time to embrace His presence, all of our unmet expectations and failures can be laid to rest.

"God is more concerned about who you become as you spend time alone with Him than He is about anything you might accomplish before men."

 

 

Under Obligation – The Ramp

Awakened Ones. Consumed by the Presence of Jesus. Passionate in the place of prayer. Consistent in the Word. This is the life of a Disciple of Jesus, but this is not the whole story. There is another element to every believer’s life on earth that is often sadly overlooked.

It’s Them.

The ones yet to be awakened. The less fortunate, hungry, downcast, nameless, faceless sea of broken people before us. They are waiting for us.

 

 

Some Secret Sauce on Solving Writer’s Block and (Almost) Always Generating Content People Want – Carey Nieuwhof

So you need to write a message, talk, blog post or even a weekly email to your team. But you’re stuck.

And you fear too many people are going to tune you out or simply hit delete when they see what you managed to generate.

How do you solve writer’s block and consistently write content people want to hear or read?

1. Identify the biggest problems/issues/fears people face

2. Address the issues you personally struggle with, but from the listener’s point of view

3. Read widely, and figure out how what you’ve read helped you solve a problem

4. Be helpful.

5. Keep a running list of possible subjects with you at all times

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OUT OF THE OVERFLOW – I sleep with the Pastor

We must start living our daily lives, and doing ministry out of the overflow of God. People need Jesus more than they need me, or you. We need to start praying for God to root all of us out, so we have more room to fill Him in. I want when people to see me to see Jesus. I want when I leave a place, or a conversation for people to desire more and more of Jesus. I want them to experience Jesus, not Jessica.

May the anointing of God start filling us, and the places we go. We sing these songs to be the lights of this world, or songs to fill us up and send us out. But are we just sleeping and singing corporate karaoke or are we truly awakening to the power of the words of these songs and desiring every cell in our body to be covered by Jesus.

 

 

The Mr. Miyagi Guide to Practicing Your Craft Jeff Goins

Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? (What — you’ve never seen that movie?! Shame on you. Go watch it now. It’s a classic!)

The point of the exercise wasn’t to teach Daniel how to buff. It was to teach him the fundamentals of a craft he didn’t understand.

So Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without really understanding why. Over and over again, he scrubs that car until it shines like nothing else — until finally he can’t take it anymore.

He didn’t sign up for this. He wanted to learn Karate. He wanted to be awesome. And this felt like a chore, a waste of time. But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it.

Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.

 

 

Why superheroes don’t inspire us anymoreTyler Ward

What social research says about the power of vulnerability at work & at home.

Research shows that projecting as if we have it all together is both “dated” and “destructive.”On the contrary, when we’re willing to take off the masks of who we “should” be to admit who we currently are, we create a human connection that is not only necessary for relationship, but critical to inspiring (or leading or helping) others.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of inspiration. Brene Brown, a long-time student of vulnerability and the author of “Daring Greatly,”says it this way:

Our ability to be vulnerable forms the basis for our connection with others, a connection that is critical if we are to inspire others. (Read more)

Vulnerability inspires change. Peter Fuda and Richard Badham spent 5 years studying the effects of vulnerability in a professional workplace. Their conclusion?

When a leader (read: parent, pastor…etc) admits their own weakness, it invites a mutual accountability that creates momentum for change. This act of humility is seen as courageous and inspires others to follow suit. As more members of the team join the process, the snowball becomes more tightly compacted and almost impossible to stop.

 

 

 

Focus, Perspective, and Leading Well – Christine Caine

THE MORE LIFE I LIVE, AND THE MORE CIRCUMSTANCES I FACE, THE MORE CONVINCED I AM THAT IN ORDER TO FULFILL OUR CALLING, WE MUST BE SELECTIVE IN THE THINGS WE LOOK FOR IN LIFE.

If we as leaders truly desire to live out our God given purpose and destiny, we must make the decision to follow God with our whole hearts and maintain a passionate faith walk. I have come to the realization that the perspective we maintain actually determines the purpose in which we walk in.

As leaders it can be easy to become distracted and miss the plans and purposes God has for our lives because our focus is on unimportant, insignificant things (that just happen to be screaming the loudest for our attention!).

 

 

4 Places to Encounter Jesus That May Surprise You – Jonathan Merritt

A few years ago, I found myself in a time of profound spiritual emptiness. I’d been working in the church world for many years and my time of service was a period of sweet struggle. Crafting sermons, trying to make much of Jesus. Calling people to faith, and reminding those who found it to keep doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY MINISTRY HAD BECOME A JOB. ANOTHER WAYPOINT IN MY EFFORTS TO SAVE THE WORLD. I SPENT MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT GOD THAN TALKING TO HIM. MORE TIME DESCRIBING GOD’S PRESENCE THAN BATHING IN IT.

I had become a travel agent pointing to God like a far-off tourist attraction when I should have been travelling there myself.

I tried to balance my increasing workload with budding writing opportunities, a juggling act that often left both efforts unfinished. I was moving bricks from one stack to another. Worse still, I was moving farther away from the God I wanted so badly to draw near to.

So I decided to take a journey to meet the God of the Bible. What I discovered is that Jesus often shows up in unexpected spaces.

 

 

+ this great one:

If I’ve learned anything about dreaming, it is thisJon Acuff

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Lack Of Sleep Kills Brain Cells, New Study Shows

If you’re burning the midnight oil, you may be burning out brain cells, too, new research shows. A study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience found that staying awake too long destroys brain cells in mice, and may do the same in humans.

It’s the first study to show (if only in animals) that sleep loss can lead to irreversible brain cell damage.

 

 

 

This Horrifying Infographic Shows The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Bloodshot eyes, discolored skin, and an increased risk of diseases is what awaits those who don’t get enough sleep, as this terrifying infographic from The Huffington Post illustrates.

It’s generally recommended that people sleep for seven to nine hours per night, but nearly 40% of Americans get less than that. And the effects of sleep loss can kick in after just one night.

Check out what can happen if you don’t sleep enough… (click the title link)

 

 

 

Rethinking Preaching: Whatever it Takes to Make the Gospel Clear

As a pastor and evangelist, I am often asked about preaching in the 21st century.

The questions usually take one of the following forms:

  • Does preaching need to sound different to reach a more secular culture?
  • How do pastors connect to non-believers from the pulpit?
  • What are some ways to invite people to respond to the gospel during a sermon?

These are not only good questions; they are essential to the future of the church and the eternal destinies of those who have never heard the gospel.

To answer these questions, we need to think like missionaries.

Be creative but don’t compromise

Once he connected with his audience, Paul moved to the person of Jesus, the testimony of the resurrection, a warning about coming judgment and a command to repent of sin. He didn’t compromise the message by contextualizing his delivery and neither should you.

He spoke their language, literally and figuratively. He won a hearing by treating them with honor and respect. He dignified them as humans, spoke to them in their context, and seized the small window of opportunity to preach the gospel. And guess what happened?

Some sneered. Some were curious and wanted more time to think about it. And some believed and were converted, namely Dionysius and Damaris.

 

 

 

Jesus Defeats Paralyzing Fear -  Newspring Church

A well-known quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘s first inaugural address is “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

81 years later, we all still face these nameless, unreasoning, unjustified fears.

Fear is a powerful weapon. It imagines the worst-case scenarios about our futures. It twists the facts, distorts the truth and compels us to stand frozen or turn back when everything within us begs to move forward. 

What if we faced our fears and believed our great God is a mighty warrior (Exodus 15:3)?

After accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are never alone. Through every storm, our great God goes before us and will fight for us. He is on our side every step of the way (Deuteronomy 1:30).

 

 

 

 

3 Things to Know About Finding Your Calling – by Jeff Goins

The Ancient Romans didn’t have a word for vocation. They had what they called a magnum opus, your body of work. To them, a calling meant more than a single task to be checked off a list. It meant your whole life.

Your calling is not just one thing. It’s more than project to be completed; in fact, you will spend your whole life finding it. It may encompass all your skills and passions, uniquely combined in a way that serves the world’s deep need. That is your calling.

What does this mean for you? If you’re trying to find your calling and feel like you might be failing, take heart. You are already on your way. Remember:

A calling isn’t just a job; it’s a life lived well.

A calling is never complete—that is, not until you die. Everything you do matters, even now in the messy middle.

A calling is more than one thing, so be open to using every experience as an opportunity to create your magnum opus.

And when you are done, and the work is complete, hopefully you will hear those wonderful words: "Well done."

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Why We Wear What We WearMalcolm Levene

For a lot of men and women, their less-than-happy relationship with their appearance is often a symptom of conditioning, poor self-image or thinking they just don’t have any taste.

We all have taste; it’s an innate part of who we are. Often, it only emerges when we’re helping somebody else choose a clothing item, or when we’re selecting a decorative piece for our home. It’s as if our "Style Gene" only kicks in when it’s not about us personally. To develop taste and a "good eye" for what suits you, begin by focusing on the details. Start with the three F’s as your guide: Feel. Fit. Flatter. You will be clearer about what to select and what to reject when it comes to choosing any form of apparel. Be super aware of purchasing clothing items that focus solely on fashion. "Fashion fades, only style remains the same" – Coco Chanel

 

Here are a few pointers on how to develop your Personal Style:

– You’re Unique — don’t try to be a copy of someone else

– Trust your instincts when it comes to making choices about where/how to shop, but do some research in advance

– Spend quality time developing your Personal Style — this is mission You. So ensure you have the time and mental space to shop properly

– You have 10-seconds to make a positive impression — make sure you look the part

– Choose colours that complement your personality, hair colour, skin tone and existing wardrobe. A good way to do that is to have a wardrobe clear out, so you can see what you actually do wear, not what you have

– Someone who’s able to convey great Personal Style does so with subtlety and grace

– Ensure all the details of how you attire yourself are in line with the three F’s: Feel. Fit. Flatter

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What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You

She is not my type. He couldn’t hack it. She looks friendly. He looks efficient. I can tell she is an extrovert.

We make snap judgments about people from the clothes they wear. On what basis?

There is much more to our clothing choices than we might imagine. For many people, what they wear is merely a matter of habit, but when we dress in the morning it might pay us to be a little more careful in the choices we make. Doing something different with your clothes might be a way of changing the impression others have of you.

A study just published1 by our team in the UK and Turkey shows some of the very subtle ways in which clothing influences all kinds of impressions about us. Our clothes make a huge difference to what people think about us – and without us knowing or in ways we couldn’t even imagine. People make their assessments in the first few seconds of seeing another; assessments that go way beyond how well you are dressed and how neat and tidy you might look.

We carried out the research with over 300 adults (men and women). They looked at images of a man and a woman for just 3 seconds before making ‘snap judgements’ about them. In some of the pictures the man wore a made-to-measure suit. In others he wore a very similar off-the-peg suit bought on the high street. The differences in the suits were very minor – we controlled for all the big differences such as colour and fabric, as well as making sure the face of the model was pixillated so that there could be no hidden messages in the facial expressions.

After just a 3-second exposure people judged the man more favourably in the bespoke suit.  And the judgements were not about how well dressed he was.

They rated him as more confident, successful, flexible and a higher earner in a tailor-made suit than when he wore a high street equivalent. Since the model’s face in the pictures was blanked out these impressions must have been formed after quickly eyeing what he was wearing.

So, our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded. Research suggests that these impressions about us can start in childhood – one study found that teachers made assumptions about children’s academic ability based on their clothing.

In another study we have investigated in our lab an issue that women often report encountering in the workplace -  differential gender-biased standards and being judged as less competent than men, even by other women. What role does dress play in this?

We made minor manipulations to female office clothing to see how this affected first impressions of them. We also researched whether the occupational role of the woman made any difference to these impressions. We tested this with 129 female participants who rated images of faceless (by pixilation) female models,on six competence based dimensions (intelligence, confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority, and organisation). In all cases the clothing was conservative but varied slightly by skirt length and an extra button being unfastened on a blouse. The models were described as having different occupational roles, varying by status (high – senior manager, or low – receptionist). The images were only presented for a maximum of 5 seconds.

The assessment of the competencies we measured should surely not be affected by these minor clothing manipulations? Surely people use proper evidence to make such judgements?

I am afraid we found that the clothing did matter. People rated the senior manager less favourably when her dress style was more ‘provocative’, and more favourably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned up blouse).  I reiterate that the clothing in the ‘provocative’ condition was still very conservative in style and look – it was not a short skirt and a revealing blouse, but a skirt slightly above the knee and one button on the blouse undone.

The rating of the receptionist role was not affected by these clothing manipulations suggesting that there may be more leeway for some jobs than others. 

So even subtle changes to clothing style can contribute toward negative impressions of the competence of women who hold higher status positions. Wearer beware!

It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are too, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought.

 

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Fashion a Favourable First Impression

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. That’s great advice. But, the truth is: during a job interview or networking opportunity we dooften judge a book by its cover. So, while it is important to say all of the right things during your job interview and networking opportunities; your actions and body language often speak much louder. Rather than bemoaning this simple truth of human nature, learn to use it to your advantage.

The First Seven Seconds How you present yourself – from grooming and dress to body language and level of confidence – plays a major role in how others will evaluate you during an initial meeting.

"You have approximately seven seconds in which to make a good first impression," says wardrobe stylist, Kristen Kaleal. "That’s the amount of time it takes to shake somebody’s hand and then take a seat. That’s before we’ve had a chance to thell them how great we are or how qualified we are. It’s before we’ve had a chance to become ourselves."

The initial impression made in that first seven seconds will often lay the foundation for the remainder of your interview or first meeting. If the impression made is less than favourable, you’ll spend the next seven minutes trying to overcome the poor impression made during those first seven seconds. The good news? You have a say when it comes to how others think of you.

Impression Management "We have the power to control what people think of us. It’s called impression management. It means that we can control what other people think of us based on our appearance, our grooming, and how we communicate with them," Kaleal says. "We can use [impression management] to spin our brand in the direction we want it to be perceived."

By putting careful thought and effort into self-presentation we can greatly influence the first impression others form of us. This requires being deliberate in our choice of dress and grooming, being conscious and in control of our body language, and being focused in our communication with others.

 

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Clothes DO Make the Man

How important really is what we wear?  Is there a cause/effect in how we are treated by the world? Does it make a difference in getting someone to help you in a Department store, or being seated at a good table in a restaurant? Can’t people look through all the superficial and see the real us?

Fortunately, guys, we have some scientific evidence to support what you wear does make a difference in how you influence the world around you. Maybe we didn’t want to believe (but suspected) the real reason that guy down the hall who always dressed great, but didn’t know poop is now a vice president!

When your credibility is crucial, in situations such as job interviews, court testimony, sales presentations and first dates (or even second and third dates) it is important to made a “good” first impression.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression– Will Rogers

Behavioural scientists tell us that this “first impression” is a strong one. And the process of sizing you up is on a subconscious/emotional level of the brain. Your evaluation by a stranger takes 30 seconds or less and can be so strong that it could take as much as five years to erase.

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