Monday Start: Resources for the Week

startWriting

Words to avoid when writing.  (Globe and Mail)

Feel-good story!

Son keeps his promise to his dad and gives him a 1957 Chevy for his birthday.

Church

Thom Rainer has written a very good post “12 Reasons to be Optimistic About the Future of Local Congregations.”

Resources

Have you seen these resources?  Some very helpful resources (video, audio, notes) from Austin Grad’s Sermon Seminar.

Sleep

I paid little attention to the value of sleep for years.  However, Michael Hyatt has written a fine post in which he discusses the value of sleep for productivity.  “Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More.”

Presentations

See Victoria Labalme’s video in which she discusses “The Amateur Versus the Professional.”

 

 

 

 

Ministry Inside.130

exhaustion1My friend told me many years ago, “If you are going to last, you can’t keep working like this.”

I was a young preacher.  I had just told my new friend some details about my typical work week.  I had no sense of boundaries or priorities.  Consequently, my days were typically spent with far too much activity and too little reflection on the value of these activities.

My friend had served congregations for many years.  He was ten years older than me and had given much thought about his use of time in his own ministry.

Consequently, I made some changes in the way I used my time in my work.  I also learned much about the way I had been using my time.

Perhaps you will find these helpful.

1.  Every “yes” is a “no” to something else.  Some people say “yes” to almost every request they receive.   Yet time is a limited resource.  Consequently, I can be busy fulfilling the requests of a few people, while I ignore the message preparation that will impact hundreds of people on Sunday morning.  I learned to think through the implications of saying “yes” to far too many requests.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start (1)Sabbatical

See this post by Eric Geiger “Why Your Pastor Needs a Sabbatical.”  One way to bless your entire church.

Scripture

Students should watch this video.  “My Advice to Students” (series).  Matthew Barrett says, “Don’t Forget to Read Scripture.”

Interesting

John Saddington has written a good post “Mr. Proctor, Mr. Gamble.”  Two unlikely business partners.

Worship

Richard Beck has written a very good post on singing, worship, and hymns.  See “Worship Songs Aren’t Just for God: On Lament and Old Hymnbooks.”

Sobering

See Thom Rainer’s “The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches.”  I rarely miss one of Rainer’s posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Comfortable With This Person?

Pretense

When someone refers to another as “unpretentious” it is often quite a compliment. Such a statement is not typically made with cool detachment but with great pleasure. After all, unpretentious people are not only people we like but are often people who cause us to feel good when we are with them.

Meanwhile, we may know also know some people who we might describe as “pretentious.” These people perceive themselves to be important and have a way of being with others that may cause them to feel critiqued and evaluated.

I recall a conversation with a woman who had walked into a social setting where she was to meet a new friend. She sensed the eyes of others staring at her. She felt as if others were thinking, “Who is she and who invited her here?”

Meanwhile, her new friend came into the room and warmly greeted her guest. In spite of the rather cool beginning, she actually enjoyed the evening. The nice evening was attributed to her friend whom she describes as being completely unpretentious.

Have you been in situations like this where you were put at ease by another’s lack of self-importance?

Ministry Inside.129

taunting-businessmen-620x250I love to laugh.

A funny story can be told in a sermon, class, elder’s meeting, or in a small gathering of friends. It is particularly enjoyable to laugh with friends. Laughter can often draw us together.

Laughter, used in the wrong way, can also be deadly. Someone’s laughter can be embarrassing or even humiliating. A public speaker or a person in a small gathering can actually use laughter as a weapon.

Beware when humor is used in the following ways.

1. Beware of humor that causes another to feel embarrassed, exposed, or shamed. This can happen when certain people share stories about another’s humiliating moment. Yes, everyone laughs. However, more than once I have suspected that the person about whom the story was being told was dying inside. Do I really need to tell these kinds of stories?

2. Beware of humor in which you find yourself telling or laughing about another’s misfortune. A joke about their son’s arrest? A joke about a wife’s unfaithfulness? A joke about someone’s bankruptcy?

3. Beware of humor in which you intentionally tell a story that exposes the private moments of your spouse or children. Your spouse and children ought to be able to relax and live in your home without fear that you are going to trot out their latest mistake in a sermon. Far better for one to tell about his own mistakes and his own blunders than those of family members.

3 Ways We Lose When We Don’t Connect with Others

disconnectionThe other day I was on the telephone with one of my daughters.  We talked for a few minutes when suddenly she said, “Well Dad, I guess I had better go.”

I responded by saying, “Already?  What is your hurry?”

She then said, “Dad-I can tell you are distracted.”

Uh-oh.

I could not argue.  I was distracted.  Charlotte and I had just arrived home after a trip to Arkansas.  I was distracted the moment we walked into the house.  I apologized and said that I would love to talk with her.  She said, “Let’s talk some other time.”

I suspect many of us have experienced such conversations.  However, sometimes the failure to be fully present with others is more than a momentary occurrence.  Some people are just not emotionally present regardless of the circumstances.  This is just the way they function.  In other words, they live each day not really present in the moment they have right now.

What do we lose when we are not fully present?

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

StartThird Third of Life

See this fine post by Walter Wright from Fieldnotes Magazine regarding his book The Third Third of Life: Preparing for your Future.  I really enjoyed this book!

Productivity

Note this info graphic regarding productivity and time wasters.  “The Four Biggest Productivity Killers in Your Office.”  Sobering!  (Thanks Tim Spivey).

James Bryan Smith

I enjoy reading anything James Bryan Smith writes.  See his post “Defining Spiritual Formation: The Need.”  I have read almost every book Smith has written.  A very good and helpful writer.

Leadership Lessons

Shane Duffey has written a fine post on Perry Noble’s blog entitled: “Five Leadership Lessons I Learned When I Began to Work In A Church.”

Ministry Inside.128

ThirdWho do you intend to be?  Will you finish well?

I recently read Walter Wright’s most recent book The Third Third of Life: Preparing for Your Future.  Wright is the former President of Regent College in Vancouver.  Wright suggest that one’s life can be divided into thirds.

“I like to think of life in thirds.  The first third (one to thirty) we spend in incubation, education, preparation, exploring identity and purpose, intimacy, and relationships.  The second third (thirty to sixty) is dominated by family and work: we define our core relationships and commit to a career path.  The third third (sixty to ninety) encounters the unexplored terrain of life after the working career.” (p 9)

The book explores the “third third” of life. You may not be there yet.  Before you stop reading, however,  you might note this paragraph:

“Planning for the third third of life draws heavily on the first two thirds. Who we have become is the result of a lifetime of learning, work, and relationships.  Who we will be is a choice that builds on this foundation. Preparing for the future is not a uniquely third third concern.  It is an agenda for life.” (p.  114)

Given these realities, who do you intend to be?  Will you finish well?

When You Fail to Show Respect

respect-dotRespect.

I suppose it may not a word that immediately gets your attention.  Perhaps it doesn’t have much buzz or flair.

Yet the importance of showing another respect is huge.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

  • A young husband is condescending to his wife, making her feel as if she is less intelligent than he is.
  • A teenager has a confrontation with his dad.  He tells his dad to “shut up” and walks away.  Thirty minutes earlier the boy was in a Wednesday evening Bible class.
  • A young woman is disrespectful to her mother-in-law, speaking to her in way that is demeaning and hurtful.
  • A man disrespects his wife, flirting with women at the office.  One woman at the office remarks, “You mean he’s married?”
  • A minister degrades the elders to others in the congregation and then kisses up to them in an elders meeting.  Disrespect.
  • An older man in the church abruptly approaches a young minister and says something insulting and crude in front of a visitor.

I am not suggesting that people needed to be “nicer.”

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

StartIn your backpack

Pete Scazzero writes thoughtful posts regarding the interior life.  See his post “Removing the Clutter.”  Scazzero asks this important question, “What are you carrying in your “leadership backpack” that needs to be removed so you can listen for God in your interior world?”

Self-differentiation

Also, don’t miss this post by Scazzero  “Am I Becoming a More Mature, Differentiated Leader?”  This is such an important concept for any leader to grasp.  I am thankful for Ed Friedman whose books, papers, and speaking introduced me to this concept many years ago.

Creativity

See Ann Voskamp’s post “Why Your Soul Needs You to Make Time to be Creative: 7 Keys to Being More Creative.”  This is a good post!  Like so many of Ann’s posts, it has numerous pictures and a fresh way of expressing the ordinary.  Be sure to finish the post since the seven keys are actually listed at the end.

Time

Lifehacker recently had a post entitled “The Best Time of Day to Do Anything.”  Agree or disagree, these posts typically make me think.  For example, skim through this post “The Best Sounds for Getting Work Done.”

Sex

See Thom Rainer’s post “Sex, Millennials, and the Church: Five Implications.”  I appreciate Rainer’s tone as well as his research.