Archive for the ‘ Engaging ’ Category

The Tale of Two Buckets

What do you do when conflict fires break out?

They’re bound to happen. Conflict itself is unavoidable because  we all walk through life with our own set of desires, expectations, and values. So, what do you do most often when the tension of conflict springs up?

You have two buckets to choose from when conflict fires arise.

Photo courtesy of Fran

The Tale of Two Buckets

When conflict and confusion arise, you have two options:
  1. Empty your bucket of water on the fire to diffuse the issue.
  2. Empty your bucket of gasoline on the fire to inflame the issue.
“Conflict is unavoidable, but combat is optional.” – Max Lucado

I’ve been reading John Maxwell’s book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. It’s been an incredible resource to me an a communicator who really wants to connect with his audience. I don’t want to be another talking head. I want to influence people positively.

Well, in this book, he explains that when people meet you for the first time they ask themselves three important questions. Keep reading to find out what they are…


Three Questions People Ask When They Meet You For the First Time

Photo courtesy of marrio31 at


In my context, we are welcoming people to our church experience. People who come for the first time ever are considered our guests. We want them to feel welcomed and wanted. To that end, we want to be ready to answer the three big questions when they arise. So, here they are…

Three Questions Our Guests Will be Asking Themselves Today:

  1. Do you care about me?
  2. Can you help me?
  3. Can I trust you?

Let’s plan to answer these questions today! (And everyday)

Buy John Maxwell’s Book:
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

Why not pick up a copy of John’s book for further insight? Click the affiliate link to buy it today!

Check Out Perry Noble’s New Book: Unleash!

My Amazon Review of Unleash!

Perry Noble has earned the “right” to write this book. From humble beginnings, God has uniquely gifted him with the capacity and desire to pastor one of America’s largest and fastest growing churches. In reality, Perry has experienced first-hand the kind of unleashed living that he explains in the book.

The book itself will challenge your current condition and compel you to embrace God’s unleashing grace. You don’t have to be stuck in duty-oriented religion or in the chains of your past experiences. You can move forward, see triumph in tragedy, and take your next step in your relationship with God.

This book is filled with practical principles as well as Perry’s personal experiences. The book flows well, and it’s an easy read. You will stay engaged, especially because of Perry’s storytelling abilities. Because of these things, it’s worth the read. You will get something out of it. In fact, here is one of my favorite excerpts:

One of the quickest ways to forget what God says about me is to focus on what the enemy says about me.

Buy the Book

This is just a small sampling of the message of the book. Get your copy today!

(Click here to buy the book right now, using my affiliate link.)

Go to the Unleash Conferences!

As an aside, I have also personally benefited from attending Perry’s Unleash Conference in the spring and the NewSpring Leadership Conference in the fall. These are great church leadership events. Google these event names to learn more. The NewSpring folks are hospitable, and I promise that you will learn something from your time in Anderson, SC. Invest in these experiences. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Stay Tuned for More

In the coming days, I’ll be posting a review that includes my personal insights and favorite quotes from the book. In the meantime, keep reading!

2012 Exponential Notes: Jud Wilhite

This post is the seventh in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – Day 1

Orlando, FL
Speaker: Jud Wilhite
Topic: Staying Grounded
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:11-15
Date: April 24, 2012

1. Do a gut check (5:11-12)

2. Stay a little crazy for God (5:13)

  • Ministry is messy because sin is messy.
  • If no one has accused you of doing anything crazy lately, maybe it’s because you’re not doing anything significant for God.
  • Don’t make your crazy mandatory. And, don’t make someone else’s crazy your crazy. Be crazy for God in the way that he has called you.

3. Be compelled by Christ’s Love (5:14-15)

Notes & Quotes

  • “You’re responsibility before God is not a spectacular ministry. It’s a faithful and sincere heart, grounded in what God has called you to do.”
  • When you get to the end of life, all that matters is (1) your relationship with God, (2) your faithfulness to his calling, and (3) your faithfulness to the people He has placed in your life.
  • You have to be content and joyful with 4 or God will never allow you to lead 4,000.
  • We must throw away the old/traditional scorecard, and e,brace the scorecard that God has for us.

2012 Exponential Notes: Wayne Cordiero

This post is the sixth in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – God’s Sifting

Orlando, FL
Topic: God’s Sifting
Text: Luke 22:33-34
Date: April 24, 2012

Preparing for God’s Sifting (3 Lessons)

1. Learn to selfcorrect.

  • When the Holy Spirit corrects you in private, repent in private.
  • If you do not repent in private, you will one day be corrected in public.
  • One of the devil’s crafty tactics is not bringing about consequences, but withholding them. He withholds his opportunity to pounce so that it is eventually much worse (Ecc 8:11). He knows you will keep sinning. He’s setting you up. Don’t let it happen!
  • God put mentors in th Bible for us in the form of the biblical characters. Every problem you will ever face, someone in the Bible experienced it before you (Heb 11:4).

2. Learn to suffer.

  • “Suffering will change you, but not necessarily for the better. You have to choose that.” (1 Peter 4:19)

3. Learn to lead yourself to Christ.

  • When you get tired, sick and discouraged, you must learn to lead yourself back to the cross where you started.
  • If you made all of your life decisions when you’re sick, tired, and mad, what kind of life do you think you’d have? A bad one.

Notes & Quotes

  • “One of the truest tests of a servant is how we respond when we’re treated like one.”
  • For some of you, God called you to ministry, but not senior pastoring.
  • Some of us are confusing the work of God in transforming us and the work of Satan in troubling us.
  • God most often takes us by the hand and leads us through the challenging times, rather than picking us up and allowing us to miss them. Even so, He never lets go of our hand!
  • The best vegetables grow from sifted soil. The same is true in your life.
  • God grows the best stuff in sifted soil.
  • You don’t train for the start of the race. You train for the moment that you most want to quit so that you will decide to push forward to the finish. The same is true in ministry. You have trained through books, messages, and conferences so that you will continue on when you are most discouraged and closest to quitting.

2012 Exponential Notes: Marriage & Ministry

This post is the fifth in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – Shawn & Trishia Lovejoy

Orlando, Fl
Speakers: Shawn & Trishia Lovejoy
Topic: Marriage & Ministry
Date: April 25, 2012

4 Things God Taught Us About Marriage & Ministry

1. Intimacy is worth fighting for.

  • Church planters are known for fighting for the Gospel. We need to fight for our families!
  • We must fight for date night and family night.
  • Sometimes we must fight against religious/churchy people.

2. Have a last 10% family

  • We typically only share 90% of how we think or feel. We keep back the last 10%.
  • Be honest with each other.

3. There is only one enemy in your family.

  • The enemy is not: your spouse, your family, or your church.
  • The enemy is the evil one (John 10:10)

4. The family trully is a partnership.

  • Date nights are your responsibility.
  • Family days are your responsibility.
  • Family items (meals, allowances, prepping for the day, etc)
  • You are partners in marriage and ministry.
  • The stronger your partnership is at home, the stronger your ministry expression will be.

Notes & Quotes

  • The reason that our church is a textbook “simple church” is not just because we think it’s the best model for building a church but because we believe that it’s the best model for protecting our marriages and families.
  • Many of you are not tempted by moral failures, but you are tempted to put ministry over your marriage.

This post is the fourth in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – Family, Marriage & Ministry

Orlando, FL

Speakers: Darrin & Amie Patrick
Topic: Battle Lines: Family and the Ministry
Text: 1 Timothy 3:15
Date: April 26, 2012

About Marriage

1. This is constantly a process.

  • Be careful of weighting your whole life condition on just the past three days of family and ministry.
  • Principle of 3s: Check the last 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months.
  • If you’re not careful, the church will become a mountain in the middle of your house, and everything will revolve around it.
  • Think of the ministry as a marathon, not a sprint.

2. Take care of yourself

  • Most church planters gain 20-30lbs in the first year. The stress pushes them to over eating, lack of sleep, caffeine pills, etc.
  • You must take a Sabbath (whatever is restful for you).
  • You must stay healthy (work out and eat right).
  • Don’t believe the lie that your stress level and busyness equals importance and significance in ministry.
  • There is humility in understanding that you have limits, and you are living in tandem with God to work within these.

3. Take care of each other.

  • Date Night: You must figure out how to continue dating each other. Doesn’t have to be dinner, late nights, or expensive. It can be a simple lunch.
  • Weekly Meeting: Talk about family plans, matters, and schedules.
  • Don’t treat each other like a problem to solve. Instead, treat each other like a mystery to discover.

About Family

1. Cast vision for your kids.

  • Daddy and Mommy have a job, but it’s not that much different than God’s calling
  • Don’t talk about church junk around your kids. Talk about the wins, but not the losses.
  • When you blow it, apologize and repent to your kids about it. Always, explain to them upcoming scheduling items that impact them.

2. Value the uniqueness of your kids.

  • Every child will have a different response to your role in ministry. Let them develop in that process.
  • You don’t parent your children. You parent each child. Differently (Proverbe 22).

3. Set boundaries to protect your family.

  • How many nights per week will you be out?
  • Is your family the mission? Or, will you leave your family aside, for the mission? What’s the important mission?
  • Your house: what are the boundaries for your home? You must be hospitable (1 Timothy 3). Find a way to make it work in a way that your family can accept.

Notes & Quotes

  • Don’t make a false dichotomy between your church and your family. They are connected, but not insuperable. Your family is part of the church.
  • To wives: Be your husbands biggest fan and his gentlest critic.
  • People will feign allegiance to your mission, but what they really want is a personal counsellor and friend. But, you just can’t manage that many friends or needy people.
  • If you do not have good boundaries, people will suck the life out of you.
  • Introverts in the Church by Adam Mchugh. Quiet: the Power of Introverts… by Susan Cain
  • Do the best you can to have friends outside of your church planting circle.

2012 Exponential Notes: Avoiding Moral Failure

This post is the third in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential: Avoiding Moral Failure

Orlando, FL
Speakers: Brian & Amy Bloye
Topic: Common Threads of Pastoral Moral Failures

Text: 2 Corinthians 11:3

Date: April 25, 2012
Satan is targeting us.

What are some common claims of the deceived?

  • There is always someone close that they get involved with (it’s not a stranger).
  • There is always deceptions.
  • There is always secrecy.
  • There is always a lack of connection between spouses (They became business partners).

Who is suseptible to moral failures?

  • Adventure-seeking, adrenaline junkies
  • Visionary types
  • ADHD types
  • Competitive guys
  • Workaholics
  • People who appear confident, but are a bit insecure
  • People with narcissistic tendencies.
  • People with more spiritual passion than they do Bible knowledge (Ignorance of the Bible).
  • People with a lack of discernment, especially in themselves?
  • All of us in the ministry world are susceptible!

How can we prevent moral failure?

  • We have to recognize that this is a Jesus issue (Colossians 9:9-10).
  • Question: Is Jesus enough? (Even if your church isn’t a numerical success?)
  • We have to count the cost and embrace wisdom (Proverbs 5:1-9).
  • We have to admit that something is broken.

Notes & Quotes

  • You must intentionally prioritize your marriage over your ministry
  • Book Recommendation: When Godly People to Ungodly Things by Beth Moore
  • God did not call us to plant churches so that we can be worshipped.
  • If I am not pointing people toward Jesus, chances are I am pointing people toward me.
  • Many people are deceived into thinking that God is simply giving them a pass on their poor moral choices. If that’s you, you are being set up!
  • If you are struggling with unconfessed sexual sin, please do not plant a church!

2012 Exponential Notes: Discipleship

This post is the first in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – Discipleship

Orlando, FL
Speaker: Larry Osborne
Topic: Discipleship
Date: April 25, 2012
Where we’re all of the committed disciples when Jesus’s body came off of the cross? They had a chicken little moment.

Discipleship Profile: Joseph of Aramethia

  • Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15, Luke 23:50-54, John 19:38-40
  • He was rich.
  • He became a disciple (past tense).
  • He fulfills Isaiah 53:9.
  • He used his own tomb.
  • He’s one of 71 key leaders in the nation. (And he’s even prominent among them).
  • Good and upright man.
  • He had not consented to the decision to crucify Jesus. (But, why didn’t he do much to stop it?)
  • He was a discipleship of Jesus, but secretly…because he feared the Jewish leaders. (Isn’t that tough for us to handle? Isn’t a secret disciple supposed to be an oxymoron?)
  • Nicodemus is also a secret disciple.

Application of This Discipleship Profile

  1. We’re never as strong as we think.
  2. We’ll be judged by the way we judge others.
  3. Our job is to encourage(1)  the weak, (2) the struggling, (3) the back of the line, and (4) the not-yet-ready.

The 8 Dirty Little Secrets of Discipleship

We have redefined discipleship in unbiblical terms, and we have confused discipleship with leadership.

1. The ultimate mark of a disciple is obedience to what we know.

  • Not all of Scripture, but what you already know.
  • The word discipleship simply means “follower.”
  • When you make your application of obedience mandatory for everyone, you’ve become an accidental Pharisee.
  • The Bible teaches generosity. But, it’s expression is different in each disciple’s life.
  • The Bible teaches mercy. But, it’s expression (water, orphans, human trafficking, etc.) is different in each disciple’s life.

2. Discipleship is not a linear process.

  • The linear model was brought about by type A people, but it’s not for everyone.
  • Everyone takes the same lessons, but in a different order.
  • Don’t confuse the educational model and the discipleship model.
  • Instead of a pathway that we all walk on, let’s focus on moving people in the same direction.
3. No two personal relationships are the same.
  • Every person will relate to God differently.
  • And, our discipleship process needs to honor that.
  • What works for you may not work for everyone.

4. Whenever spiritual tools become spiritual rules they produce pride rather than disciples.

  • People were men and women of God before Guttenberg invented the printing press.
  • Not everyone is a reader, eespecially men.
  • We can’t look down on people who use different tools than us.
  • We should offer as many tools, paths and venues as possible.

5. Knowledge, self-discipline, and personal sacrifice do not equal godliness.

  • You can be A+ in these and still be messed up.
  • Be careful of pride.

6. When we use the Bible as a mirror, we become more like Jesus. When we use it like binoculars, we become pharisaical.

  • Blind spots are not always sin spots.
  • The High Place Principle (1Kings 3) – God looks at Solomon and says, “I love your heart. You’re going to

7. We are called to fulfill our calling, not our potential.

  • Disciple people to live out their calling, not their potential.
  • Sometimes, we must live beneath our potential because of our family, marriage, etc.
  • “The day I got married, I changed my ministry potential.” Paul explains that a married life alters your potential (1 Cor 7).

8. If my definition of spirituality is out of reach for the regular guy, it’s out of line with Jesus.

  • It’s a both/and. We need discipleship and leadership development. Let’s not cross the verses about the two, making leadership verses about discipleship.

Notes & Quotes

  • We’ve been raising the bar higher and higher.
  • We’re confusing discipleship and leadership.
  • Even Jesus’ disciples don’t consistently live up to our modern discipleship standards.
  • If your discipleship standard is higher than Jesus’, then you’re an accidental Pharisee.
  • We act like pride is an occupational hazard to discipleship. We act like it’s excusable for us to look down on others. But, pride is number one on God’s “I hate” list.

The Marks of Demolished Buildings

An Interesting Find

I stumbled upon this very interesting photo this past week in a Flipboard article. I had never thought about the lasting impact that a demolished building has upon it’s neighboring buildings. Take a look at the photos below.


The truth is that this same sort of thing is true in the lives of people as well. In life, we stand side-by-side with our friends, family, and co-workers, and here’s the deal, when one of our “neighbors” has a life that’s demolished, by whatever means, we too are impacted. We are not immune to the collateral damage. As the saying goes, “No man is an island.” Our lives are intertwined with the lives of those around us, and when one of us hurts, we hurt too.


Let’s take this a visual reminder to do all we can to prevent life-demolition and to help our friends pick up the pieces if it does happen.


Editor Real Talk, a Ryan Gosling–like meme featuring econospeak, a young design company out of New Zealand, and more in this installment of Friday Finds.

The Marks of a Demolished Building

German photographer Marcus Bock’s Found Architecture documents the imprint of demolished buildings on their still-standing neighbors. The differing rooflines make a strong visual impact, almost more so than if the disappeared building were still standing. Such are the effects of nostalgia, I suppose.

Read more: