Friday Bag #25

Jonathan Cliff  —  February 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

The Friday Bag

The Power of DuckTales - “DuckTales,  the most successful show of Disney s short-lived television-animation renaissance—and a show that kicked off a brief interest in syndicated afternoon animation from a host of media companies—has mostly disappeared from the limelight,”


OpenDNS - The Cliff Family is giving this a try this week. It’s a small attempt to make the Internet safer for our entire family.

How I Have Stayed in Church for 26 Years -   I am often asked by so many people, especially ministers, How have you stayed in one church or ‘survived in the same church for 26 years? Through God s grace and grace alone have we been able to do this.”   // Love this insightful look at longevity.


So proud to be a part of such a special place this past December. Be Rich 2012.

Let’s take a break from our  regularly  scheduled programming. If there is one thing that I’m all about, it’s about solving all the world’s problems. One of those crazy, out-of-whack problems recently is how Instragram (owned by Facebook) and Twitter are being jerks to each other. In fact, they’ve gotten so stubborn with each other that recently Instagram stopped allowing Twitter to embed images inside the Twitter stream. This has left us with the serious problem of having to click Instagram links within someone’s twitter feed instead of just seeing their image automatically.


Then along comes “If THIS then THAT” and  IFTTT provided the help that all of civilization has been waiting for. IFTTT is the greatest Internet thing around right now. I personally use it to make starred emails in Gmail go to Evernote, backup all my Instagram images into Dropbox, and send me a text each morning with the weather. It’s wonderful. Like a hot coffee in the morning kind of wonderful.

Here is the Twitter/Instagram workaround.

Step #1: Open an IFTTT account and tie in your Twitter and Instagram apps.

Step #2: Use this  recipe  below. If you click the image, it will take you to the actual recipe.

Instagram IFTTT recipe

Step #3. Then when you update Instagram, unselect the “share with Twitter” button and enjoy the automation of:

Before—–>>>>>TO THIS —–>>>>After.

You’re welcome. And if you don’t understand you can just go to IFTTT and read up on all the awesomeness that awaits you! And seriously… I know this isn’t a real-world problem. #firstworldproblems



I have a real heart for those that work in churches and work with children. I’ve done it before myself, and I know what it takes and what it takes out of a leader. I know what it’s like to dread Saturday night phone calls, and to find yourself teaching in 5 minutes because somebody didn’t show up. For all of you out there that find these words resonating with you, then I’ve got a special treat for you!


One of the greatest resources for Children’s Pastors is now available in your living room. My friend, and Executive Director of INCM, Michael Chanley is letting us in on 5 sessions this year. Just visit at the scheduled times below and hang out with some great leaders from around the world!

Monday, February 18 at 6 PM  

General Session  #1  “Impart God’s truth to this generation”

save to calendar  |  buy this session

Tuesday, February 19 at 7:00 PM  

General Session #3  “Communicate with families”

save to calendar  |  buy this session  

Wednesday, February 20 at 6:15 PM  

General Session #5  ”Pray for the international children s ministry community”

save to calendar  |  buy this session

Thursday, February 21 at 9:45 AM  

General Session #6  “I’m IN!”

save to calendar  |  buy this session

 Shop the  INCM Resource Community  to get DVDs, CDs and MP3s of all the breakouts and trainings.  All of CPC12 and CPC13 (Orlando only) are currently available. CPC13 San Diego will be available in the next couple of weeks.


Circles Better Than Rows

Do you create a compelling place that people want to return to the next week?

If environments are the way we communicate atmosphere and expectations, then relationships are the words and voice that keep people from disconnecting from us. And the connected will return to our churches. In our efforts to create amazing environments we can’t forget that it’s the people connecting with people who communicate the Gospel. It’s people in the parking lot, people at the doors, people in the classrooms, people in the auditorium, people on the stage, and people sitting next to other people. (That there may be the most times I’ve used the word people in a sentence, let’s hope you get the point.)

Relationships matter now more than ever. Here are 4 ways to ensure that you are putting value in the people and not the things:

1. Encourage Conversation. I’m not saying we should make introverts stand up and talk to strangers, but we should be encouraging our leaders to connect. Teach and train leaders to recognize the ‘lost in the building’ person, to seek out the parent that could use a hand, and to make face-to-face interactions with those that visit our churches. Make the first-time count for something.

2. Lead Small through Small Groups. I’m 100% convinced that circles are better than rows, and if you’re not creating small spaces for preschoolers, children, students, and adults to connect in circles…then you don’t think relationships matter. Make relationships matter by making community in circles the most valuable resource in your church.

3. Equip Leaders. Have you reminded leaders in these all important groups to make eye contact, to lean in when talking, and to remember someones name? Do you evaluate how your leaders connect with parents? with children? with visitors? It’s our job as a leader to communicate the value of building relationships. As a parent of 3, I cannot overstate how important it is for me that the leaders of my children connect with my children.  

4. Respect the Journey. Surface level relationships are still relationships. All relationships begin awkward, simple, and sometimes frustratingly slow. The journey towards community is a long one, but when we value the story being written over the chapters we’re living in, then we have a God-shaped view of what real relationships and community could be.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”


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