Friday Bag #14

The Friday Bag

Young Men are Educationally and Relationally Doomed - “According to psychologist Philip Zimbardo, young men in America are doomed at least they are educationally, relationally, and sexually.”

When God Pulls the Rug Out  -  “Has this happened to you?  You read all the signs that were so blatantly from the Lord— yes, this is the path, go this way, I am with you.  You have been amazed at the way he opened doors—you were scared but you walked through them.  The Lord confirmed his will for you through other people too—they were excited that God was doing this.  Finally, you were on board. You were excited. You were all in. You had peace about your decision.  And then, splat, he pulled the rug out from under you.  How will you be able to trust God again?”

APP Recommendation: Calvetica –  I am loving this iPad/iPhone Calendar app. Some serious bells and whistles for us calendaring nerds

14 Tips for Telling a Great Story - “Storytelling is a vital component of good teaching and preaching. I hope these guidelines will improve your teaching as much as they have mine.”

321 from Jeremy Poyner on Vimeo.

Gospel Reflections

It’s a common tool when teaching from the Bible, to say that the Bible is a mirror that allows us to see things in our lives that we wouldn’t see without it.  I’ve used this example when teaching to children, adults, teenagers, and when talking to my own family.  The Bible as a mirror.

It’s only when reading scripture that areas of our lives can be exposed for the unrighteousness that is within.  It’s true that the Bible reflects the mess in my life, in ways that my own eyes can’t see.  So the solution to this is simple, just stop reading the Bible and we don’t have to be confronted with our own personal horrors.  In fact it’s such a great solution that people have been doing it for thousands of years. I know people that won’t attend funerals because it means they have to set foot into a church, and they won’t set foot inside a church because they feel guilty immediately after hearing scripture.

But there is another sort of reflection that shows up in our lives that only others can see.  It’s the Gospel reflections that we have the opportunity to display every day. Every day we have the chance to demonstrate support for others, even though they haven’t deserved it in anyway.  Every day there are severely unlovable people that need love from us.  Every day there are chances we have to let our actions, heart, and words reflect the Gospel in real-life ways to those around us.  The every day tragedy of believers everywhere is that instead of reflecting the Gospel to others, we often reflect our own need for it.  It’s there with us all the time.

We think others should love us for what we’ve done for them. This is not the Gospel.  Instead we should be giving the very thing others don’t deserve, love.

We act as if we are owed the support of those we’ve supported in the past.  This is not the Gospel. Instead we should continue to offer second-chances to those least deserving of it.

We  respond to the hurtful words of others with our own hurtful words, because this is what “standing up for yourself” is supposed to look like.  This is not the Gospel. Instead we should be willing to let others have their say, knowing that eventually all that’s true will be found out; and instead spend our time standing up for those with nobody willing to do so.

I’m a man in need of the Gospel reflection more and more everyday.  It’s a part of my life that I often cast my eyes away from, yet as I put myself in the situations and positions that require a Gospel-only response; I’m learning to reflect this great story.  I received something that took me from a bad place to a good place through no actions of my own.  The Gospel.

Make your Time Count

We all want parents to be on time.   It s hard on leaders everywhere to stop mid-way through a teaching segment to stand up and let the kid into your class for the last 20 minutes of your time together.   It s hard in the middle of a fantastic storytelling moment in large group, and somebody has to get up and help the latecomer find his place.   Maybe your church has time cut-off limits, and good for you; but most of us don t have the luxury.   To overcome this, you must begin to ask yourselves if you have done your very best to give them something to arrive on time for?   Does it matter if parents arrive on time?   Have you tweaked and adjusted your classroom settings to encourage early arrival?   Many times all it takes is to build the relationship aspects of our ministries into the very first few minutes; and that alone will get those kids cheerleading to their parents to be on time.

We can communicate the value of timeliness by building value into the earliest parts of the morning, and training teachers to lead through this arrival time.  

It s on me.   It s on you.

 

We Wish Parents Would __________.

Help Parents Be at Church

 

This Means Curriculum War

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

I believe we live in the golden age of church curriculum.  I’ve looked at so many great fantastic things over the past few years, that it’s amazing.  It’s sincerely hard to put my finger down on exactly the best one.  But do I really have to?  Wouldn’t each individual and organization need to make their own choice, based on their own needs?

I’ve noticed an  embarrassing  trend over the past few years.  There is a battle being waged over which curriculum is the best.  Is it virtue-based teaching?  Is it chronological biblical storytelling?  Is it gospel-centered teaching?  Large Groups with videos, or large groups with skits?  Or should large groups go away, and we invest 100% in small groups?

The thing is I don’t find the following questions to have “either/or” answers.  There are some great materials, and each church has to decide which model they will use.  I’ve heard Andy Stanley make a quote that goes something like this, “We are married to the vision, but we just date the models.”  The models will change, and the curriculum will change as well.  The crazy part is that if you really look at all different curriculums, you’ll find that they have way more in common than they have not in common.  I’ve chosen what is best for my church at this moment in time, but I also recognize that other churches will choose something different for their church in this moment in time as well.

We don’t have to blow someone  else’s  candle out to make ours shine brighter.  I believe this can happen, and I see some early signs of collaboration happening between writing teams.  I dream of a day when pastors, leaders, and curriculum writers could sincerely cheer each others success; and back that up by toning down the rhetoric on both sides of either argument.

We can do this right?

The Lie of Consensus

Consensus is defined as “general agreement among a group.”  You know where consensus comes into play in your life, right?  You want to start moving ahead with your ideas, but you feel you need some consensus from your leaders to do it.  You know what needs to be done, but you want consensus from others before moving forward.  You are burdened with a need that needs met quickly, but you want to build consensus so you won’t feel all alone meeting the need.

The danger with consensus is that oftentimes it stagnates our progress and delays our successes.  In and of itself, consensus is a great thing to have.  There are times when it is absolutely necessary to get others on your side before moving forward on something.  But there are those other times that we use the lack of consensus as an excuse to not obey what we know God has told us to do.

So how do you know when to gain consensus, and when to act quickly without it?  How should I know.  You’re the one working in your church, leading your family, and daily seeking God’s Will for your life and situation, right?  You’re already the expert.

Just refuse to buy into the lie that you NEED consensus to do anything.  Pray and act, pray and act, pray and act, and I believe you will go in the direction that you and your group need to go.