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Archive for March, 2010

Easter Shoes

Easter shoes…love, love, love to get a shiny new pair for the occasion! Of course, I love to get a new pair for any occasion – Groundhog Day, Flag Day, National Pancake Day. If you’re a shoe girl like me, you know what I’m talking about. Put out a sign that says “Shoe Sale” and I’m there in a flash!  

When my daughter was little I loved to dress her in her Martha Miniature dress with the little bell…and, of course, the huge puffy Martha Miniature slip under it, with an Easter bonnet and always a new pair of shiny matching shoes! So cute. Ok, she still likes a new Easter dress and shoes…just a little more toned down these days. I always dressed her over the top…what can I say?!  

What is it about new shoes that make us walk with our head held higher on that first wear?  

Image by ‘Yan Boechat' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

But some children of no shoes at all.  

Which just makes for an entire sad situation when I look in my closet and see boxes stacked high, a pair for every need…and some that I don’t even have an outfit to go with yet – like the kickin’ Ralph Lauren ivory snakeskin platform pumps that I got at a recent 75% off sale ~ a little bit of awesomeness!  

This Easter you can participate in Barefoot Sunday and share God’s message of Hope.  

In the past you may have seen Coaches Without Shoes – as basketball coaches across the country coached their games barefoot to raise awareness and monies to put shoes on children’s feet through the Samaritan’s Feet organization.  

Easter Sunday, April 4th, is Barefoot Sunday. Samaritan’s Feet is asking pastors from across the country to preach barefoot to raise awareness of the 300 million people who cannot afford even one pair of shoes to protect their feet from disease or infection.  

Image by ‘Jean-Sien Kin' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

This non-profit organization that brings hope around the world is also asking the each congregation take up an offering –  just $10.00 will purchase, ship, and distribute a pair of shoes to a child in need.  

You may also text “shoes” to 85944 and $10.00 will be added to your cell phone bill at the end of the month which buys a pair of shoes for a child in need.  

So this Easter instead of going out and purchasing new shoes for the fam…  

…why not just get the old pair out and polish them up… and give a little bit of awesomeness to a child who has none.  

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This Week’s Top 5 Blog Post Fav’s

The Leadership Strategy of Jesus

So much of the activity I see among leaders today is focused on reaching the masses. “Successful leaders” speak at big conferences, host popular television or radio shows, publish bestselling books, or write successful blogs. Their goal is breadth. They want to extend their influence to as many people as possible. (Read More)

What’s Easter

One of my teammates at West Ridge sent me this article last week from the Barna Group which addresses people’s perceptions of Easter. There are some interesting stats in the article. Among them, one-third of the people surveyed don’t view Easter as a religious celebration. Maybe even more interesting is the fact that 19 percent of the born-again Christians don’t view Easter that way, either. (Read More)

Leadership Lessons from the Dancing Guy Video

The commentator makes a lot of insightful observations about leadership, but I think he misses the biggest one of all.

 First, the good stuff:

  • A leader needs the guts to stand-alone and look ridiculous.
  • He must be easy to follow.
  • The first follower has a crucial role…. He shows everyone else how to follow.
  • It takes guts to be a first follower. You stand out and brave ridicule yourself.
  • The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.
  • The second follower is a turning point… Now it’s not a lone nut and it’s not two nuts… Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.
  • A movement must be public.
  • Everyone needs to see followers because new followers emulate followers not the leader.

The commentator closes with this interesting paragraph: (Watch Video and Read More)

The Toughest Job Ever

I’m constantly trying to learn how to be a better parent. Whenever I meet a young person that seems to be well-rounded and following Christ I grab a notepad and pepper them with questions about what their parents did “right.” Especially if they grew up in a pastor’s home! So if you have a kids, read this. If you’re in ministry and you have kids, study this.

With that in mind I recently asked Heather Stevens, a 17-year-old junior in high school who’s a regular reader of this blog, about her experience with her parents. Heather’s father is Tim Stevens, a great blogger and author who’s on staff at Granger Community Church. I think you’ll find her thoughts incredible insightful and encouraging. Enjoy. (Read More)

Why Twitter is the Best Thing to Sliced Bread

The phrase “The best thing since sliced bread” and other variations are commonly used hyperbolic means of praising an invention or innovation.  Sliced bread is the arbitrary benchmark against which later innovations should be judged.

The history of the bread slicer dates back to 1912 when Otto Fredrick Rohwedder invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread slicing machine.  This original prototype burned down in a fire and it wasn’t until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully operational commercial machine.  The popular use of “the best thing since…” phrase comes from the fact that Wonder Bread, the first mass-marketer of sliced bread as a product, launched a 1930s ad campaign touting the innovation.

3 Reasons Why Twitter Is The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread (Read More)

 

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Image by 'jkoyte' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

Are you needing help finding someone for graphic design or maybe to design for your church website?…maybe you need help with research studies or where to find out about new technology that would help your church be more relevant in today’s culture? 

The Center for Church Communications has put together a free tool to help provide info on subjects from administration to multi-media, from helping find church management software or help answer the question about church photography…a one-stop shop, if you will. 

Image by ‘brtsergio' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Church Marketing Directory is a lightly edited list of tools, resources and companies that will help a church communicate better. It is not an exhaustive list by any stretch. In fact, they invite us to suggest resources to be added to the list. 

The Center for Church Communication believes like me ~ that the Church has the greatest story ever told, but we don’t always know how to tell it. This may be due to a communication problem. The story is sometimes lost due to poor research, little planning, bad clip art, cheesy photos and unremarkable ads. 

Through this free tool that the CCC offers I just might be able to conquer some of those communication problems and reach more people in my community. It’s all about helping the Church matter. 

I love free stuff ~ finding free materials that I can really use…now that is always a BIG win for me…and you. 

…and helping me with my communications problems – bonus! 

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Book Release: The Christian Atheist

Craig Groeshel is releasing a new book today, March 23rd, entitled The Christian Atheist.

“94% of Americans believe in God, but most don’t live as though He exists.”

From the Back Cover of the book:

‘The more I looked, the more I found Christian Atheists everywhere.’ Former Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel knows his subject all too well. After over a decade of successful ministry, he had to make a painful self admission: although he believed in God, he was leading his church like God didn’t exist. To Christians and non-Christians alike, to the churched and the unchurched, the journey leading up to Groeschel’s admission and the journey that follows—from his family and his upbringing to the lackluster and even diametrically opposed expressions of faith he encountered—will look and sound like the story of their own lives. Now the founding and senior pastor of the multicampus, pace-setting LiveChurch.tv, Groeschel personal journey toward a more authentic God-honoring life is more relevant than ever. Christians and Christian Atheists everywhere will be nodding their heads as they are challenged to take their own honest moment and ask the question: am I putting my whole faith in God but still living as if everything was up to me?

More info at ChristianAtheist.com

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Some would argue that MMA is the fastest growing sport in America. 

Image by ‘superwebdeveloper' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

What is MMA? 

Mixed Martial Arts – a full contact combat sport mixing different techniques of martial arts such as kickboxing and jiu-jitsu which includes striking and grappling techniques while both standing and on the ground…a hybrid cross-training of the arts. 

Fight Clubs are springing up in congregations across the country and seem to be enticing men back through the doors of the church. 

There is a huge debate about what is seemingly a violent sport being promoted in the church these days. Recently the New York Times featured an article “Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries” that has stirred up quite a conversation on Jesus and the fight. 

Some churches host fight night viewing parties and show events on a big screen and share how Christ fought for what He believed in, while other’s host live cage fighting events and weekly MMA instruction classes. 

I attended a Cardio Combat session at Willard MMA recently which opened with prayer which included all involved and then went on to provide exercise and instruction on kickboxing technique – what a way to get in shape! It was crazy physical fitness…and yes, what a way to sweat! The Willard MMA invites all to come to Christ with a clear message of the Gospel spelled out its website. 

Anointed Fighter’s  vision is to serve as ambassadors for Christ to the fighting community around the world by creating platforms and resources that deliver the gospel in relevant terms to the fighting culture. This includes an online magazine, which includes forums, devotionals, and curriculum to defend yourself and defend your faith. 

Image by ‘Divemaster Doug' from the Flickr Creative Commons

 

A full line of Christian Combat gear is available to help share your faith on the mat through Fight 4 Christ. 100% of all the profits from the gear sales go directly to a charity of the month. 

Jon Stem teaches the sport of Mixed Martial Art known as Jujiden at King’s Chapel Assembly of God. His classes range in age and skill level. He receives positive feedback regarding the class from the congregation of his church. Jon states, “The class serves as an incredible avenue through which to build relationships with guys and earn the opportunity to speak into their lives through those relationships. In teaching this class, I have had the opportunity to get to know guys, who ordinarily, may never have darkened the doorstep of the church. I have had the opportunity to share Jesus through the example of my life, to give advice, to be there for those who have experienced hard times while in class, and to talk about my faith one-on-one with guys who are now not only my students, but also my friends.” 

Brandon Beals is the Fight Pastor. He is an avid mixed martial arts fan and blogger. He also happens to be an Assembly of God pastor at Canyon Creek Church in Mill Creek, Washington. “Compassion and love – we agree with all that stuff, too,” says Brandon Beals, “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.” 

So…is the ultimate fighting experience a new tool for evangelism and outreach to the community? Is MMA a viable way to reach men and young boys…and possibly girls with “The Fight Chick”, for Christ? 

….it would seem so. 

  

 

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This Week’s Top 5

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Top 5 Blog Post Fav’s

Driveby culture and the endless search for wow

The net has spawned two new ways to create and consume culture.

The first is the wide-open door for amateurs to create. This is blogging and online art, wikipedia and the maker movement. These guys get a lot of press, and deservedly so, because they’re changing everything. (Read more)

Top 100 Church Blogs (+ 30 bonus blogs)

There are hundreds of great church blogs and ministry blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which church blogs everyone else is reading?

I do, which is why I have compiled a list of the world’s top church blogs.

Some focus exclusively on ministry, while others are more like theology blogs. Regardless of how you label them, these are the world’s most popular church blogs written by many of today’s most influential church leaders, theologians, and Christ followers. (Read More)

Joni Eareckson Tada: Health Care Bill Concerns

Protecting the least among us in health care reform.

A few years ago, I helped write a book, How to Be a Christian in a Brave New World, about the bioethical challenges in the 21st century. Today, one of our foremost ethical challenges is how to accomplish health care reform in a way that respects most Americans’ traditional religious values.
As a quadriplegic for the past 43 years, I have had more than my fair share of doctors’ visits and medical treatments. I know the difference between good care and bad care, and I can tell when a physician has my best interests at heart. I am thankful that, for the most part, my doctors have always treated me as the individual I am rather than just another patient in a wheelchair. (Read More)

Forsaking Reality For Virtual

I’ve heard some crazy stories over the years but this might top them all. CNN reports that police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online.

The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game, Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday. (Read More)

How an Introvert Handles Awkward Situations

One thing middle age has done for me is make me more aware of who I really am and how I respond to life. I can wish I was wired differently, I can somewhat adapt my personality to my environment, and I can’t use my personality as an excuse for bad behavior, but I am coming to terms with how God made me. He made me an Introvert. In recent years I have come to terms with how the public side of me behaves in an extremely extroverted world. On Sundays, because I know and love our people and have a Kingdom mindset, I’m the extroverted pastor, but as my Myers Briggs indicates, I’m actually a preferred Introvert. (BTW, it amazes me how many pastors I know who are Introverts.) (Read More)

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Each March 17th we sport our green attire and decorate with shamrocks. We tell stories of leprechauns and pots of gold. We kiss the Blarney Stone, have big parades, and color the river green. But what is this holiday we celebrate all about? Who was this Patrick? How much is truth and how much is crazy folklore?  

Image by ‘bass nroll' from the Flickr Creative Commons

It is said that Patrick was born to a wealthy strong Christian family in Brittain. At the age of sixteen he was abducted by pagans and taken to Ireland for a life of slavery. As a slave, he attended a flock of sheep belonging to a king. While attending the sheep he would quote the Lord’s Prayer that his Grandfather had taught him as a child. After several years of living in slavery Patrick said that He heard a divine voice telling him to flee back to his homeland. He escaped and boarded a ship and eventually made it back to Brittain.  

After a time, he knew he must return to Ireland, a land gripped with paganism, to share the message of salvation and freedom through Jesus Christ. He battled demonic forces; danger and hardship surrounded him. He wrote “Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promise of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God Almighty who rules everywhere.”  

His steadfast, faith and excitement won over kings. The king of Armagh gave him a site to build a church and a pot of gold to do so. Patrick’s response was “Thanks be to God.” This infuriated the king and he demanded the return of the gold…in which Patrick responded “Thanks be to God.” The king was amazed by this humble attitude and with that he gave him a more suited place to build his church and to share the gospel.  

Patrick ministered in Ireland for over 30 years. He baptized thousands and planted hundreds of churches across the land. Throughout the coming years the once pagan land called Ireland, would become predominately Christian.  

St. Patrick, which he is now lovingly referred to, died in Ireland on March 17th, 460 A.D. Thus, the reason we celebrate this special day each year.  

There is much legend that goes along with St. Patrick but not much is actually substantiated.  Some believe that he raised people from the dead and others say he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.  

Image by ‘pirate johnny' from the Flickr Creative Commons

The icon that surrounds the holiday is the shamrock. This three-leaf clover, representing the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit – the message so strongly preached by the missionary.  

 

The Leprechaun is a mythical character stemming from the Celtic belief in tiny fairies that were cranky and endowed magical powers for good and evil. The cute and cheerful leprechaun of today was introduced in a 1950’s Walt Disney film called Darby O’Gill and the Little People and evolved quickly into a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.  

Image by ‘discopalace' from the Flickr Creative Commons

In America we celebrate with parades such as the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago. During this time the Chicago River is dyed green, a tradition started back in 1962.  

 

So on this March 17th, as I don my green, I’ll plan for a fun-filled day of pinching those not in dressed in the correct attire and take the fun, traditional folklore and marry it with the remembrance of this faithful missionary called Patrick …and I may even fix some corned beef and cabbage to round out the day.  

  

   

   

 

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