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Archive for the tag “Compare”

There is no I in team…

think bulb

If you are like me, you have heard this phrase being used from time to time in various settings. There is no I in team!.. I have heard it in the work place, sports field, once in the classroom (admittedly that one confused me), and even in the house. We are better than just one. I am sure you could add some unique places or settings you have heard the term but what about the church?

I was reading out of my new “Jesus Centered Bible” brought to you by Group Publishing. The New Testament book of John Chapter 17 verse23. Jesus was talking to people. He said in short.. If you want them to know me, they need to know you, by how you treat one another. Those words simply stung tonight as I read them, in fact the reading caused me to draft this blog.

So how does the church do in getting along to show the world or those outside of your building who Jesus is?

  1. We disagree about worship style. Check
  2. We disagree about budgets. Check
  3. We disagree about rooms being used. Check
  4. We disagree about the right time to do communion or baptism or even who can minister those things. Check
  5. We point fingers at each other. Check
  6. We talk about our leaders behind their back. Along with not supporting them. Check
  7. We sit in our pew, comfy as they are, and think so and so should hear this sermon. Check
  8. and I could go on and on… but what good would it do?

It doesn’t do what God has called us to do or be.

Matthew talks about going out in pairs to reach others so grow them and baptize them and disciple them in the way to go..
John talks about showing your love for Jesus and reflecting that love through our actions with other believers…

What would our churches be like if we ….

  1. We worshiped in spirit and in truth, no matter what the service style or flow was… Check
  2. We worked on a balanced God focussed budget and celebrated God’s generosity… Check
  3. We shared rooms.. after all they are just bricks and drywall and will be there when we die… Check
  4. We celebrate Jesus life, death and resurrection with our hearts in appreciation.. Check
  5. We look within to grow before we offer help to others… Check
  6. We support the leaders God has put in our churches and pray for them… maybe even join them in leading.. Check
  7. We begin to apply the sermons to our lives outside of the building we call church and people see Jesus… Check
  8. and I could go on and on… What good would it do…? Well it would be a reminder of two simple things….

We are representing Jesus in all we say, do and think and we might be the ONLY Jesus the people we interact with will see.

Finally think about it… if we continue to do the first list, why would anyone in the world want to come into our church and worship, grow or serve? I know I wouldn’t want to be a part of something that is that negative especially the church.

I will spend some time this week doing a couple of things:

  1. Digging deeper into God’s word to grow my love for Jesus and His church.
  2. Trying to move from the first list of actions to the second one. Not allowing myself to complain.
  3. be a change agent for myself, family, church, community and God.

I understand from a life of serving God in different states, denominations, church sizes, styles and shapes that it can be a challenge to stay focused on the goal and to avoid Satan (the king of all lies) tempting us to look to the left or the right of the goal. I also admit to struggling from time to time with being a change agent in my own heart and life. But I am working on it.

I pray you can see through the offensive nature in the blog to the heart of the message.. God can’t use us if all we do is think of the I in team that doesn’t exist.

Faithful Journey to each of you.

Would you Rather……

I think we all know of the book resource “would you Rather…” if not it is a book that youth leaders can use as discussion starters. It poses a would you rather question. For example.. would you rather be eaten alive or Burned at the stake? then the answers can be discussed to see why.

I thought of a few to challenge you with: Would you rather be

  • working or on vacation?
  • have it be Monday or Friday?
  • be married or single?
  • have children with one income  or no kids with dual income?
  • be in skinny due to food allergies or heavy due to working out?
  • sleeping til noon or waking up at 5am? sorry this is a poor one I know….. lol

What is your answer and why?  I must admit it is a trick question… there really isn’t a correct answer unless you say both matter?

the Book of Psalms chapter 46 verse 10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  You might be thinking but I am not a religious person… so that doesnt have to impact this verse.  You might be thinking what does this have to do with a would you rather Game? well I am not sure I can say it has a ton to do with it but I can share this thought….

How would our life be if we stood still for a moment… yes pondered the questions…

  • Would I rather be looking at Monday or Friday.? I would say Monday it is my day off… and I would say Friday, it starts my work weekend… the time I get to hang out and connect with people… so both answers offer me opportunity.
  • married or single? I am married and my life is more complete with a spouse but in my singleness it was a time of growing and complete as a single person, both are wins based on my attitude towards them.

I want to encourage you the reader to be still and know….. Be still and know you are::

  • the best you the world will ever know
  • in the process between life and death.. do something with it
  • you matter to people who you would consider not being an influence on
  • you have gifts and talents unique to only you.
  • you are one choice away from great victory or great defeat
  • you are YOU>>> that is the best You to be

I am not in anyways saying I have come to completeness in this area of my life… I am middle age, balding guy, with four kids and allergy to both milk and gluten and never met my great grandparents (my parents were 45 when I was born.. Yeah they were nuts).. it is a challenge people… but I am working to spend more time being still and less time running at 100 miles per hour…

tips… take a walk just to walk.. spend sometime listening to your favorite song just to listen.. do some cross-fit… who am I kidding.. just skip that one…


Perspective matters…. Room with a view has a price to it..

Checking into a hotel in downtown Indy (Indianapolis) this previous week (Thursday), the counter person asked me a simple question, “Do you want a room with a view?”.  I simply replied sure, I guess… he smiled and proceeded to book me a room with a view. I was excited to have a view, of what I wasn’t sure, for my hotel window. I honestly was thinking it would be a view of the roof or neighboring hotel or business. I entered the elevator heading up to the fourth of five floors and waited. Once I finally got into the room, I headed over to check out the view… it was a very nice view of some artsy buildings, very nice.
Then I proceeded to wander around to find my meeting location for the day… only got lost once on this trip which is a record of major proportions… Well the meetings ended several hours later and night life began. I turned into my hotel lobby about 9PM after a long day of voting, meeting old friends, finding new connections and making a plan for the following day. I decided to do some homework, well hotel work and headed to bed about 11PM, which is good for me…. Then the perspective switched…….

I realized something as I sat in my bead wide awake listening to cars drive-bye, motorcycles racing their engines, music playing and a random drunk dude singing (well yelling would be more appropriate) along with the song till 3:00AM. It was then I decided well a room with the view has some good and bad things. I thought maybe it is was an isolated event… nope it was even louder the next night (Friday) but I did the best I could to manage the nose levels and factors till about 3AM again.

The idea of perspective is a loaded gun, allow me to share some perspective comparisons..

  • A country view are different than city view
  • A guys view is different from a girls view
  • A single guy views different from a married guy view
  • A parent views is different from children views
  • A person dating view is different from a single person view
  • A Christian view is different from a non-believer view
  • A homeless person view is different from a non-homeless person view
  • A business owner view is different from an employee or customer view
  • A doctor, nurse view is different from the patient view
  • I am sure the list could go on and on and on… feel free to think through your own perspective comparisons.

I think you will find everyone has a slightly different view (perspective) than you for one main reason.. well two.. they are not you and they haven’t been through the things in life that you have. It is that simple. Our experiences shape our view-point which in turn shapes your ability to understand everyone else’s perspective.

I was driving home to my country view and I was wrestling with the whole idea of perspective. I think God works on my more in the day-to-day life happenings than any other way besides bible reading. As I wrestled with the idea of perspective, God again had some more examples for me to think through during our church service today….

  • A music leader view is different from someone sitting in the seats
  • A musician view is different from the music leader
  • A congregation member view is different from the minister preaching the sermon
  • A greeter view is different from the one being greeted
  • and so on….

We are all subject to the same 24 hours in a day but our experiences, our history, our personalities impact our perspective. I would like to throw out a simple challenge which will not be an easy challenge in any way at all.

I would like for one day, honestly more than a day, for each of us to consider the other view-point before we make a move, say a word, make a smart helpful comment, before we judge them or fix them or comment to them… just take a minute to evaluate how our perspective is shaping our opinion and how their perspective might be shaping theirs. Then consider what if anything would be the best thing to say or do.
I am to quick to speak, to quick to draw a conclusion based on my perspective. I am praying that I as a Christ-follwer to take on the perspective of Christ and get ride of my earthly broken perspective but it isn’t an easy thing to do.

By the way, it was a quiet sleep the night at home, minus the rooster crowing at 3am, which I didn’t hear… Check the perspective to allow yourself to grow and develop.

Taking a break from Faith… Learn from the Bible Peeps….


Breaks                                                                          Connects

David              2 Samuel 11:1-5                               2 Samuel 6:14-15

Joseph            Matthew 1:18-19                              Matthew 2:13-14 (Mark 14:27)

Peter               Matthew 26:33-35                           John 21:18-19

Paul/Saul       Acts 9:1-2                                           Acts 9:19-21

Main Verses   1 Peter 3:12-14


We are in the throws of Spring Break…

  • Student and Teachers get a week off

But what kind of break do you get?

  • School is out for summer
  • Weekend… TGIF
  • Vacations
  • Retirement
  • Holidays

It is through day to day activities that God gets my attention.. I am not sure about you but He uses the normal everyday life to make a subtle point here or a major slap in the spiritual face there.

People throughout the bible would take breaks from their relationship with God… lets look at a couple of them



David was King… He took sometime off from focusing on God… 2 Samuel 11 tells of him taking time off from being king to see a beautiful married woman…

David was King ….. He rescued the Ark of the Lord and danced nearly naked for the Lord


Joseph was arranged to wed Marry and she got pregnant… he was planning on divorcing her… as if that didn’t benefit him….
Joseph listened to God and took Jesus and Mary to Egypt for safety.. three years


Well Peter took many risks for Jesus… not all of them I would consider breaks in focus of God (for example walking on water.. he was distracted but no one else got out of the boat) Peter told Jesus… I will not deny you ever… rooster crows..
Peter is the rock the church is built on and Peter dies a terrible death.. to honor Jesus he was crucified upside down


Prior to conversion Saul was present at Stephens death (the first martyr) He sought approval to take out more Christians in another town
Paul converted began preaching in Jerusalem Paul was the first missionary… Paul was stranded, ship wrecked, jailed, beaten for His Faith

How do we take a break Spiritually? I am sure you can come up with a solid list but here are a few I know of:

  • Skip your devotion time
  • Skip church or small groups
  • Complain about things, instead of being a change agent
  • Only worship on Sunday Morning
  • Only pray for meals or major things
  • Put things in place of God.. vacations, toys, events,
  • Make Scott be your only Spiritual provider
  • Don’t give to God…. Or selective giving
  • Holding a grudge
  • Don’t allow God to forgive you
  • Don’t spend time meditating on the word…
  • Not serving but being served
  • Not being open to Spirit promptings

So how do we keep our Spiritual From taking a break?

  • Make devotion God time a priority.. calendar it if you need too
  • Download a bible or devotion app to your smart phone and use it as much as facebook, twitter, email etc apps
  • Instead of complaining , seek to understand and help
  • Take a vacation… and visit a church, do some podcasts, watch online
  • Worship in your car, worship in your home.. Download some worship music
  • Schedule unique prayer times throughout the day. A friend as an alarm on his phone for each family member… it goes off he stops and prays.. he has 6 kids
  • Learn to forgive… seek forgiveness from God in your own life too
  • Give willingly of your funds and allow God to use them for His purpose not yours
  • Seek opportunity to serve… in church, in community (TGP, PANTRY) or world.

Friends it is up to us to make a commitment… to God and Christ… it takes ups and downs but ultimately it is our free will to choose

1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV… D you knot know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Peter 2:16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as a servant of God

Is it about you or your students?

I was watching the NBC Show “The Voice” with my daughter (#3) this week and I was reminded of a couple of things from previous years of viewing. The Voice is a show where hopeful singers from various musical slant stand on a stage and sing for four famous in the industry coaches while their backs are turned. While I am a fan of the under dog and seeing people make their dreams come true. The cool factor is the finalist usually come away with a record deal. Okay, back to the show.

While watching the show, the singers were giving their all and we were guessing if they would get a chair to turn or if they would get none. I began to see a pattern within the coaches.

It was as if they were trying to get attention from each other or the audience at times with disregard for the singer trying to make it big. I do admit when no chairs turn they are very sympathetic so that is nice. But when they carry on about themselves in a marketing stance, it rubbed me wrong, which made me think of my ministry.

The question I came up with is….  Are you building into people for your own gain or for their gain? God can grow them with both mindsets but one produces fruit much faster than the other.

So, let me ask you, Are you investing in people for your gain or theirs? It can’t be both.

If you are investing in them for their gain, awesome.. thank you. But if you are doing it for your gain, I will ask you to adjust,

Why adjust? simply because they will develop life long habits from you.. good or bad they are your disciple (student) and you are their guide. What they see you modeling they will also become and model. This is a cycle that will only end when a leader steps form the model and realizes the way he or she is learning is not the best most productive way.

I know at times I have fallen into a need for identity through who I am connected with but it isn’t fair for those who look to you as their leader and guide into the world of ministry or life for that matter.

Please join me regularly push the hold or pause button and do a quick evaluation of your leading…. a couple of question to prompt you:

1. Am I selfishly investing in this person to help me?
2. Am I helping them be all they can be?
3. How am I growing them to be the best person they can be?
4. Do I come away from meeting or teaching or investing in them with regret?

Good Luck in walking beside future leaders helping them be all they can be.
You Rock for sure.

Oscars … one poor decision makes the grade

I didn’t watch the Oscars, and have not watched it in the past but I do know some of those on the show probably would like to take that one moment back…. Maybe it was a wardrobe malfunction, poor choice in wardrobe, an act that wasn’t good, or even a comment they shouldn’t have made.

How do we compare? I know times I have worn the wrong outfit and even a time when I had a wardrobe malfunction… came to church in new pants, with all the tags still on them, I have said things I wish I could take back and even times when I do that daily.

So what can we do to change or avoid this Oscar mishaps? A couple things come to mind:

1. Wardrobe malfunctions happen… good luck on that one
2. Think through your actions prior to doing them… set yourself of to live without regrets.
3. Maybe review that speech or outfit with a trusted friend, a friend who is willing to be honest in love.. We all can find someone to say yes even when they should say NO.
4. Think about the words you are saying… would you like them said to you? Will you regret the time required to make them right?
5. Pray and pray… yes I believe prayer helps us in making the best choices, the choices we will not regret having made.

I would like to end this post with a simple thought…. Please work to know who you are and enjoy living your life to the full. Don’t allow your desire to be someone else (you know that celebrity or athlete) take away from the awesome person God created you to be and just because someone on the world of media wore it or said doesn’t mean you should.
God Bless you in being the best You that God created You to be…afterall it is the only one we the world get to enjoy and know.

Snow Days… Calling the day off

Snow Day

I live in a weird community environment, not because of the people, the surroundings, the houses but because of the weather patterns. The weather here is quite unique compared to Michigan, my home land. The Tri-state area is unique in that we have rain and snow mixing most of the time, and we live on a hill (mini mountain if you will) which makes the icy conditions even more interesting.

Our local schools have cancelled classes and many business run two hour delays. It isn’t a big deal to me but I find the connection between snows days and Exodus 16:23 (Moses speaking of the Sabbath). God instructed the Israelites to take a day to rest, do nothing and focus on God. I think we have been abusing that for way to long. The snow days really help keep people safe and allow for the road crews to clean the roads. We need to be safe and have clean roads.

Our world thinks a snow day is cool until it takes our spring break. We are owed a vacation and expect it. We are given time off for Good Friday, Christmas and the New Year but we tend to stay up late and party through it, only to recover for a couple days.

It makes me wonder how long we will take to realize we are gifted to have down time? When will we learn that our bodies are designed to work hard and rest well. I was reading some Facebook posts the other day about youth ministers crashing hard after an all nighter, retreat, mission trip etc. It dawned on me that we are all pushing so hard and doing so much we forget the need to rest and God allows our bodies to tell us… well if you call getting sick or shutting down a message.

What would we be like if we took God’s idea of a Sabbath and actually observed one? Would you be a healthier more balanced person, better equipped to minister, work, play and rest better on a regular basis? Would you be a happier person? Would others be more drawn to connect with you since your balance would be balanced?

I am not sure where you stand on this issue of resting but I know I am in constant need of balance in my life. Areas of balance would be physical, mental, spiritual and psychological. I am sure we can all agree we need balance.

Please take a moment to check your balance and call or schedule regular snow days.

New Years Commitment

I like to think of New Years resolutions as New Years Commitment this year….

I know many people across the world will make resolutions….

1. Lose weight…  get to eating right or maybe start a diet plan
2. Exercise more..  the one time of the year gyms make their money… yeah get a membership but don’t go
3. Read some books… Amazon, Ibook.. or just go old school with some hard cover, real pages..  stack the books on the shelves to collect dust.
4. Spend more time with family and less at work.. until our work schedule just gets to demanding then we are out.
and I am sure more and more can be added to the list
I am sure this one thing crosses all religion, all races, genders and ages.. It is something we all agree on.. make a resolution or not… but we all know about them…

It has been in my mind for a few weeks. I am preparing for a sermon for January 4th and it is something I will be addressing and teaching on. So.. what if we as people changed some words around?

I think I will make the following New Years Commitments…

1. Lose weight.. I have to get a system that will help me for the long haul.
2. Exercise more… I have to be intentional and get someone to support me.. a trainer.
3. Read more books… yes, maybe even books on commitment… and read in the morning with your coffee time.
4. Family time.. Make sure you organize your calendar and schedule time away from work, even if you work from home.

I know this will all work for more people.. Due to a simple word change…
We go from resolution to commitment… that brings a new meaning and emotion to completing our tasks or commitments.

I would encourage each person reading this to switch words throughout the year and allow yourself to pick words that will drive you to complete the things you hope to in 2015.. Good Luck

What is with all the iPhone 4s hype and does your ministry compare to it?

Everyone is waiting on pins and needles, will Apple announce the Iphone 5 or not……
The answer is NOT. They didn’t introduce the new Iphone 5 but the new revised and ever so special Iphone 4S. I am not sure if that excites or disappoints you but as a tech interested borderline addict I don’t care and am not surprised one bit. The Iphone 5 most likely isn’t ready and a natural pattern would be to spice up the Iphone 4 to buy some time.

How do we as Student Ministers compare or contrast what Apple did? Allow me to challenge your assumption here.

1. We often submit a budget (generally under what we really need) to our finance team only to get a portion of that requested amount due to giving or expected giving.
2. We will have a solid plan of our ministry at the beginning of the year and as we progress through the calendar we gradually adjust and become side tracked and end the year missing the goal or plan we intended to do.
3. We preach to our students from the pulpit (youth room or class room) that we need to be continually in the Word, but we often compromise our time in the Word because someone needs us, a game is on etc. I would even say in my life on occasion if it weren’t for my lesson prep time, I wouldn’t be in the bible at all.
4. We compare ourselves to other youth ministries in our area or attend youth ministry conferences only to come home feeling the need to overhaul our ministry. I am not implying we shouldn’t attend conferences or even challenge ourselves to do quality ministry.

I am not sure if any of these examples strike a sensitive spot in your gut but I do hope you can take a minute to evaluate your ministry and approach to youth ministering. Then compare your actions with that of the actions of Apple and it’s Iphone 4S announcement. It could be a rewarding or convicting moment, either way we should reflect and challenge ourselves to bring the best ministry we can. It is important that we don’t settle for less in our ministries allowing all the hype of something coming and follow through with the end result.
God has called us to minister to students under His leadership within our giftedness and abilities not someone else abilities or gifts.
It is my prayer that we can bring high quality programs and experiences to our customers that allow them to experience Christ in unique and personal ways and to avoid the disappointment of all hype and compromise.

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