Posts Tagged ‘target’

when the bottom drops out… a discerning work on suffering

27/10/2011 2 comments

Thank you to to the christianaudio Reviewers Program for the opportunity to review this audio book.

When the Bottom Drops Out chronicles Pastor Rob Bugh’s journey from loss to restoration and shows readers how to find and hold tightly to Christ through even the most painful episodes of life. Bugh’s story is proof positive that while pain and disappointment are an unavoidable part of life, God is nonetheless faithful, holding us close at all times and in all circumstances.’

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.  Philippians 1:29-30

As a biblical counselor, I encounter suffering in most of the discipleship opportunities that God brings into my life.  Therefore, I am always on the lookout for good resources for disciplee’s and have used Suffering:  Eternity makes a difference, How long O’Lord?  Reflections on Suffering and Eternity, When God Weeps, and When…dies booklets. I have never had a resource however for those of us who encounter suffering regularly and how to console those who are.  Pastor’ Bugh’s book is an excellent resource for this, especially the last three chapters.  My favorites was the chapter on ‘Christian platitudes’ – what NOT to say to someone suffering, and of course the chapter on the scripture references.

This was a quite interesting book and the narrator did not take away from the resource at all.  This audio did challenge, inspire, and enlighten me to be reminded not to give bible verse Band-Aids or to assume that I know the suffering that folks may be going through.  This was a sobering reminder and one that I think many of us need to be reminded of.  The author made me think before I assume anything.  Pastor Bugh did a great job in holding my attention and I was deeply touched by the letter from his deceased wife to him (she passed away after 6-months with cancer) and caused me to to consider how thankful I was for my wife and the giftWhen the Bottom Drops Out and kindness she is to me and how I have not told her that in a while.  The topic of suffering was presented in a cohesive, yet appealing manner.  I appreciated the references to the other authors like Piper and Alcorn that the author mentioned as well.  I though the author did a great job in successfully conveying Biblical truth on the topic of suffering.  I would recommend this work first to consolers and then to those that have lost a friend or a spouse.  Thank you for reminding me of this text from the bible:

God of All Comfort

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11


Looking for tech (or any other) volunteers? Make disciples instead…

30/09/2011 2 comments

I recently responded to a posting about ‘hooking’ and ‘baiting’ volunteers.  Sometimes I think we really need to rethink our vocabulary.  I have no doubt my friend had good intentions, but sometimes we might want to show some discernment when we post stuff as it reveals our hearts many times, at least with me I know it does.  I wonder how one of the ‘saints’ who serves under my friend, would have responded to being ‘hooked’ or ‘baited’ to serve or reading his posting about looking for new ideas for ‘hooking’ or ‘baiting’? God continue to rescue my ambition so I don’t ‘bait’ or ‘hook’ His servants! 

Here’s a thought… how about being intentional with doing life with folks outside of ‘church’, listening, observing, encouraging, and giving away ministry to those who have ‘kingly’ gifts (most techs have this gift mix), by personally inviting them into the game? Ministry fairs? C’mon, we are not signing people up for ‘jobs’ are we? I thought this was about worship in all of life? 

Background:  We are part of a church plant, in a supposed low tech, primarily blue collar, demographic.  I think we have announced 1x about serving opportunities.  Our tech ministry started with 3, now we have 7 and more are asking since our official launch in August.  Is it because we ‘baited’ or ‘hooked’ them?

Let me try explaining another way:

  1. Pray for your volunteers and have consistent regular intake of God’s Word for yourself.  If God is not speaking to you, how can you see what God is doing in others?  Have you forgotten how has God invested in you?  It is amazing how knitted your heart gets for the gracious gifts of people God puts in your life when you are praying for them (which means you need to ask them what you can be praying for them about). 
  2. Teach/Live – Sanctification Thru Serving
  3. Make Disciples
  4. Be a Leader who Grows Leaders
  5. Influence through Mission and Vision 
  6. Build Teams and Develop Leaders
  7. Share 1-6 with your team regardless of maturity or state (believer or non-believer) and make it a non-negotiable.  Disciples are participants, not consumers or observers. 
  8. "Observers were happy to do and give nothing but just came to watch the show each week, not unlike people who hit the brakes when driving past a nasty car wreck to gaze and grin. Consumers likewise gave and did nothing but were always wanting more and making demands for more goods and services from me (the pastor). Participants were the handful of people who had bought into the idea of the church being a missionary to our city. They came to church seeking a way to serve a greater mission and were enormously encouraging."  Mark Driscoll – Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

  9. Give away leadership and let people safely fail.  So what, if the graphic is blurry, lyric is miss-spelled, the mic squeals, or the lights did not come on queue  You didn’t do it perfectly the first time (or second, or third, or fourth) either.  Hold your criticism unless it is a distracting or disruptive problem and even then it is a discipleship moment.  Yes we should have a heart of technical excellence but we must be cautious that we just might be teaching a performance based gospel based upon our own legalism.
  10. Don’t be available all the time, babysit or micro-manage.  It gives people an opportunity to show initiative.  I cannot tell you how many times folks have come up with better ways to do things than I do them.  It wouldn’t have happened if I was hovering.
  11. Encourage creativity, ownership and approachability.  Watch your heart and be ruthless with discerning between form and function – preferences and freedoms.  You would be surprised what guests see and what ‘church folks’ see.  Just because you would not have done it that way does not mean it is wrong.  We are not putting on YOUR show are we?  Isn’t it supposed to be God’s performance?
  12. Thank your volunteers all the time and tell them about evidences of God’s grace in their lives and through their serving – not so much though, that they serve for approval – remind them that Christ is enough.
  13. Give them tools, resources and invest not for the position but for the kingdom.  For example document everything – so training/research can happen with or without you.  Maybe your discipleship helps a volunteer switch for another ministry – celebrate!
  14. Evangelize and share – gospel-centered stories regularly.  This is God’s recruitment plan for His church.
  15. Encourage getting together outside of serving. Invite them to your home before inviting them to serve.
  16. Be aggressive about scheduling and shepherd your people so they are not burnt out.  I have seen so many churches burn out faithful servants because they did not shepherd them well.  Remember, the servants under your care have many times already ‘worked’ in their ministry 40+ hours that week, and this is their offering.  They are not getting paid and beware of using them like many employers do.  They are not yours to ‘use’ – they don’t HAVE to serve, they ‘GET’ to.  If it might help, imagine you could pay them what they are worth… and you can… by shepherding them.

God will bless without ‘hooking’ or ‘baiting’ because you are giving or stewarding ministry away (is it really yours to give?) by making disciples…

God has been kind to us despite my foot shaped mouth, with the gift and kindness of so many willing servants who get the vision…for the long haul, who will disciple others who will disciple others who will disciple others…

Servants – We are servants of God who serve others as a way of life.
Fully God-fully human, Jesus took on the posture of a servant. He gave his life, even unto death, so that others could experience salvation, peace and restoration. Jesus said, "I am among you as one who serves…" All those who follow Jesus are called to serve in the same humility. For us this means joyful submission to God, leadership and to each other, as we serve whomever God brings into our lives. We do Whatever needs doing, Whenever it’s needed and Wherever it leads us (W3). (Matthew 20:25-28; 25:31-46; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16)

Learners – We are disciples of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others.
As a young man Jesus grew in both height and wisdom. He learned from local religious teachers, by living in community, and through regular times of listening to God. Jesus called others to follow his ways, to be his disciples and live in obedience to all that God commands. He then sent these followers out to make new disciples. We believe we are also called to be followers of Jesus who take responsibility for our own development and the development of others. This includes both our personal time with God as well as involvement together in training provided by spiritual leadership. (Luke 2:52; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 2:2)

Questions for Reflection: 

  1. How is God blessing your ‘body’ with volunteers?
  2. How do you invest in others?
  3. How does the Gospel address this? 
  4. What is it about the Gospel we are not believing with our our current methods of volunteer recruitment techniques?
  5. Which servant do you need to say ‘thank you’ to in thought, action and deed?
    Here is an evidence of God’s grace in my life:  My pastor recently gave me a surprise thank you hand-written note and gift card acknowledging my serving in the tech ministry.  I tried to pooh-pooh it off, saying something prideful like he didn’t need to do it, but nevertheless it touched me deeply.  I can only recommend these things (above) because I have seen them modeled in others – I am thankful for the humble servant leaders of our fellowship who are worthy of imitating.

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

If My Body is a Temple, Then I Was a Megachurch by Scott Davis

13/09/2011 Comments off

Loose weight without exercise?  Laugh my way to weight loss?  This sounds like my kind of plan!   Maybe my story is like yours.  I have struggled with my weight since my car accident in 1994.  Before that I was actively involved with martials arts (7x a week) and I could eat whatever I wanted.  When the accident fused L4-L5, I no longer could do the things I could do physically any longer, and had to say goodbye to a military career and my dreams of becoming a martial artist.  Things continued to grow however, and my weight was one of them. 

This audiobook was quite interesting in that Scott Davis has a FANTASTIC sense of humor, and uncomfortably, much of his transparency was/is many of the things I think about myself, others, and my weight.  This audio challenged me to revisit my weight issue even though I have become frustrated with my weight issue.  I was convicted with his sober challenge to men regarding setting the tone for good eating and health in the home.  I was so convicted of this, that my wife is not listening to the audios as well.  We both are going to laugh our way to health as well.  The author inspired, challenged, and enlightened me that  there was hope to conquer this struggle I have been having.  Scott Davis had NO PROBLEM holding my attention and I know he will enthrall you as well.  His steps were presented in a cohesive and appealing manner so that I was so intrigued, that I looked up ‘QLWC’ and discovered there are NONE in my area and the online form for the home program is only for the Atlanta area.   I am hoping that after my wife listens to the audio (and a billion other people listen to the audio) that there will be more locations or they will remove the Atlanta location stipulation and make the resources available to those who are interested but don’t live in Atlanta! Scott does a great job of successfully conveying Biblical truth, and I would highly recommend this book to others.  I am looking forward to hearing Connie’s thoughts on her listen too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the reviewers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission by Ronnie Floyd

08/09/2011 1 comment

Evangelists often care passionately about lost people and have a strong desire to see them meet Jesus. They feel compassion for the lost and seek to earnestly understand their questions and doubts so that they can provide a compelling answer. An evangelist often prefers being with people in the culture rather than hanging out with Christians in the church. – The Resurgence

I have read many ‘evangelism’, ‘Great Commission’ and ‘mission’ books over the years. I eagerly anticipated this book for review from Thomas Nelson. Why? Because I am too (like Pastor Ronnie Floyd) passionate about evangelism and have been since I was regenerated. My zeal has never waned, and over the years I have been periodically perplexed why others did not have the same concern when we have been given so much! Dr. Floyd does a good job in this work to express his passion, conviction, articulated through stories and examples why we should also have the same zeal. This book did inspire me in that it was a much needed reminder that there are others who are just as zealous about the Great Commission and that I am ‘not alone’ – how refreshing. Although there is not much ‘new’ in this material, the best chapter nicely titled, “Act Now” puts some feet to the zeal. I was greatly impressed with the “Shark Infested Waters” illustration and thought it accurately brought the truth of the great commission mandate through vivid pictures of sharks infested waters with a bunch of swimmers but also drove the point home and probably should be shared MORE. I think that the material was presented in a cohesive, yet appealing manner again emphasizing Chapter 9. The author did an excellent job of conveying biblical truth in regards to taking

…ownership through people owning the responsibility of the Great Commission, through transformation as families will begin to see their role in the Great Commission and through practicality, when Christ-followers will be drawn to the practical actions given in this book, helping them to see they can be a part in reaching their community, nation, and world with the Gospel.

I would you recommend this book to others, reminding us that ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 (ESV) is in the context of church discipline not when Christians are hanging out or ‘when we gather’ platitude (pg. 205). From the ESV Study Bible: Matt. 18:20 there am I among them. Jesus affirms that He will be divinely present among His disciples as they seek unity in rendering decisions, which is rightly understood also as an affirmation of omnipresence and therefore of deity.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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