Archives For holy discontent

If you don’t scour through the bargain books at your local bookstore, you really should!  In doing so a few days ago, I came across The Generosity Factor by leadership/business guru, Ken Blanchard and Chick-Fil-A founder, S. Truett Cathy.  The book is almost 10 years old, but the principles are so timeless and wise.

Generosity-factor

The book is written as a parable about a young, hot-shot broker who despite success is searching for significance. He visits a sage executive who conducts business by a much different motto—generosity. The executive teaches the broker some rock-solid, Biblical principles that are true for business and life. In the end, the broker realizes that the 5 principles make an acronym that spells, “HEART.”  He teaches the broker that a changed heart is the key to life. It’s not about how it changes, but about Who changes it. As the broker puts the principles into practice, it not only changes his life but the lives of those around him. 

The five principles are:

  • He (God) Owns It All—we are merely stewards of God’s gifts
  • Every Day Is an Opportunity—everyone has a chance to do something to bless others
  • Action is Required—“It’s one thing to think about ways to help others, it’s quite another to act.”
  • Remember Your Blessings—Take inventory of the gifts God has given
  • Thank Him–Be thankful for what God has given and for opportunities to give to others

These principles form the generosity factor—a changed heart that decides to give of what has been given to him. The principles and examples of the book are taken from the life of S. Truett Cathy.  He has do amazing work to serve others through Chick-Fil-A.  It’s amazing to see how he has given of his Time, Talent, Treasure, and Touch.

I highly recommend picking up this book—especially if you are a business owner or manager of people.  These principles will undoubtedly help you to be a stronger leader.  I’ll end this review with a few quotes from the book:

“Generosity isn’t about doing the minimum—simply doing the expected. Every day I look for opportunities to do something extra. I make it a part of my routine. Kind of a habit, you might say.”

“Generosity is an attitude. It must be cultivated daily.”

“I’m just the steward of anything that’s been given to me. I’m a caretaker. Because much has been given to me, much is required of me. That’s my responsibility, and I accept it with gratitude…The natural by-product of gratitude is generosity.”

 “The success-motivated person tends to measure his or her life in terms of money, power, status, achievement, and recognition. The significant person places emphasis on a more spiritual view of life—generosity, empowerment of others, service, building up others, and helping them develop solid relationships.”

“You will know you have truly attained significance by the sincerity of your generosity, the joy you find in service, and by the selfless nature of your relationships.  You will know by the depth of your changed heart”

If you ask any size group of preteens if they have experienced or witnessed bullying, the vast majority of them would answer, “Yes!” In fact, research suggests that 97% of middle school students have personally experienced a form of bullying. These students suffer visible and invisible effects from these experiences. Whether it is cyber-bullying, physical bullying, or verbal/emotional bullying, those that work with preteens need to be helping them deal with this tough topic. On any given day, over 160,000 kids will stay home from school because of fear and anxiety caused by bullying. It’s heartbreaking to think of the damages.

October is Bully Prevention Awareness Month

Blueshirt2011

Today is Blue Shirt Day

Students across the nation will be wearing blue shirts and blue wristbands in support of a movement to end bullying in their schools.  Principals and teachers have worked hard to increase awareness of bullying and to prevent its occurrence in their schools. Those who work with preteens in the church should also be addressing this subject. Preteens need to experience the truth of God’s Word and what it says about our relationships with others.

Here are some great resources for talking with preteens about bullying:

  • Bullying—Taking Down Goliath—Preteenministry.net has great resources for teaching and discipling preteens.  If you’re a ministry leader, check out this four-week series on bullying.

D6 Conference: Day 1

September 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

D6

Thursday was actually conference “day 1” at D6 and it opened with a session that included Doug Fields and David Platt—talk about a wake up call!  The rest of the day was FULL of absolutely amazing speakers like Dannah Gresh, Emmerson Eggerichs, Tim Kimmel, John McGee, and probably some others that I missed. But the first two really caught my heart and had me thinking the rest of the day.

Doug Fields’ message challenged us in our frustration and exhaustion of ministry to renew our love for Jesus Christ.  At the end of the day, this is what matters most and ultimately what will fuel our ministry efforts.  Doug challenged us to be leaders who…

  • Can authentically say, “Follow me, as I follow Jesus”—Is Jesus the most famous person in your church? In your ministry?
  • Value a collective vision—Humbly accept that we are better together than we are alone.
  • Are acutely aware of the “twisters” [issues, forces, conflicts] impacting families—Are we adding to the “twisters” that families face? Are we making suggestions from the pulpit that we’re not living out at home?

Next, David Platt spoke from the premise of his book Radical.  He posed the question, “How do we pour the Gospel into the next generation in a way that makes Christ’s glory known in all the world and in all generations?”  David spoke from Luke 9 on the three conversations Jesus had with those that wanted to follow him. He drew these challenging exhortations to parents from this passage of Scripture:

  • Teach children to treasure the person of Christ more than the possessions of this world
  • Tell children that God’s Kingdom is infinitely more important than their family
  • Train children to love the Lord enough to gladly leave their home behind

His talk boiled down to one statement on our purpose as parents.  The goal, as Platt describes it, is:

For our kids to love a Great God in a way that would lead them to abandon the things of this world, their family, and their home in order to follow Him!

This was challenging for me as a pastor, but even more so as a parent.  That’s not to say that I’m doing everything right as a pastor—far from it.  It just means that I’m not nearly the man, husband, or father that God has called me to be. I think I already knew that, but God has really pressed me over the last 24 hours and made me process that fact fully.

After much thought and evaluation, my take-away that I want to share with every other preteen ministry leader is this:

My legacy is not my ministry.  My legacy is my home.

God has called me into ministry, but I have a superseding call to be a man, husband, and father that follows hard after Christ. I know that I forsake my family to do ministry related tasks.  I change or cancel family plans all the time because of a ministry conflict, but I hardly ever put my family obligation before the ministry. This has to change…this will change.

 

Ps. The night was capped off with an acoustic session with Steven Curtis Chapman that was unbelievable.  He told the story of losing his daughter, Maria. The family went through so much pain and struggle, yet you can see them living in the midst of God’s sufficient grace. Everyone saw God’s grace and sovereignty in a new way as he sang, “You give and take away…my heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.”

I posted a question yesterday that has been on my heart lately.  You can read the question HERE.

My struggle with this question has prompted me to really study the lives of some great pastors and evangelists. I want to see how their lives reflect the answer to that question.  I recently read of a study on the Gospel accounts done by Pastor/Evangelist John Wilbur Chapman.  Chapman is probably lesser known for penning the lyrics to the hymn “Oh, Glorious Day!” which has been made popular recently by the group Casting Crowns.  But as a Pastor/Evangelist from the 1880s to 1918, it was estimated that he had preached 50,000 sermons to some 60 million people.  Learning about his life and ministry has been some help to me in processing the question that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.    

Back to his study of the Gospel account… Chapman found that there were 40 individuals mentioned in the Gospels, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus.  Of the forty, thirty-four of them were brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to the individual.  Only six of the forty sufferers found a way to Jesus without assistance.  The majority (85%) of them found Jesus Christ because a friend was concerned with their health and well-being.

I haven’t done a case study to prove this, but I would say that the vast number of people who find their way to salvation in Jesus today, most of them reach Him because a friend took the time to be concerned about the welfare of their soul.  I know that there are amazing testimonies of people who came to Jesus without the direct involvement of others, but the majority of salvation testimonies I’ve heard involve a friend, teacher, pastor, or parent that spent a lot of time praying for and witnessing to the person.

This thought draws me back to the question that I started with…
What if the purpose of every relationship you have was to lead the other person closer to Christ?

It also raises some questions for me as a Preteen Pastor…
How are we teaching preteens to have a concern for the spiritual condition of their friends?
How are we preparing/discipling them to be the hands and feet that carry the Good News?
How are we unleashing them to do this?
When we share testimonies or baptism, how do we celebrate the “friends” that invested in the life that has come to Jesus?

As a parent, pastor, individual, how do you answer these questions?
What’s your thoughts on the premise of the study by Chapman?