Tag Archives: video

Distraction or Destruction

My 4-year-old has a curious word choice as he plays with his toys.  He recently got into batman, and his grandparents gave him some action figures this past Christmas.  So when he is playing, he says that the joker is coming for batman to “distract” him.  He means destroy but he is much more familiar with the word distract.

Over the weekend, I thought that the joker in our story, the devil, does the same thing.  he means to destroy us, but (one way) he does so with distractions.  How often have I done less for the kingdom merely because I was distracted?  Too often, I’m afraid to admit.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have never been very political.  I believe that God calls us to be good citizens, and to take our responsibility seriously as citizens.  That said, many times it seems that politics distracts us from who our allegiance really belongs to.

In Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw say that “having power at its fingertips, the church often finds ‘guiding the course of history’ a more alluring goal than following the crucified Christ.”  Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be political, just that we should remember that our hope does not rest in the governmental systems and people of the world, but in the one, true King.  He places monarchs and dictators and presidents and gives them their position.

I just finished reading through the book of Jeremiah, and in 43.10, God says, “Then say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them.” (emphasis mine).  God is sovereign over all and to whom our allegiance ultimately lies.

In this voting year, let’s remember to love one another, to be respectful, and to serve Jesus.  As Shane Claiborne says, “enough donkeys and elephants.  It’s time for the Lamb.”

See below to watch the first portion of the Jesus for President Tour Film, and visit our playlist on YouTube for first sessions of over 75 new and best-selling curriculum for free.

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Spaghetti Sauce and Small Group Bible Studies

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about choice and spaghetti sauce.  He says that having too many options almost paralyzes people and inhibits their choosing, rather than making it easier.  I don’t know how many types and brands of spaghetti sauce there are, but I do know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of different small group Bible study materials available.

How often do you get together with you small group and wonder what to study next?  I know that in my small groups we have spent entire group meetings wading through different options.

One voice that I have really come to appreciate over the last couple years is Mark Howell.  Mark founded  SmallGroupResources.net, and is the Community Life Pastor at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Illinois.  Mark recently shared an older post of his on Facebook about how he recommends choosing curriculum.  He lists five helpful things to keep in mind when choosing:

  1. Keep in mind the skill level of your leader
  2. Keep in mind the maturity of the members
  3. Look for a topic that will pique interest of the members
  4. Look for a six-week study
  5. Choose a DVD-driven study

Read the whole article here.

How about you?  How do you choose what your small group will study together?

Be sure to visit the Small Group Bible Studies playlist on YouTube that has full sessions of our video-based small group studies.

What is a Small Group?

There are as many theories on how to do small groups as there are churches.  Some are connection groups, providing ways for people within a church to get to know others; some are discipleship groups, for serious Bible study; some are seeker groups, trying to connect people just exploring the faith.  There are many other models as well.  I came across a video that one church posted promoting small groups to their congregation.

What are your thoughts on this video?  What kind of small group are you involved in?

(HT: Mark Howell)

Video: “Half the Church” by Carolyn Custis James

Carolyn Custis James has a new book, Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women, coming out this March. In this book she presents a vision of God’s plan for women that avoids assuming they are part of a particular social location or family situation. She discusses how God crafts a new identity for women who respond to the call —regardless of age, life stage, social location, and point on the globe. It’s really intriguing book that I think social-justice minded readers, missions readers, women’s issue readers, and global thinkers will find inspiring. This video will explain more.

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Christ’s Love for the Nations – Pete Briscoe, “The Surge”

We just posted this video up of Pete Briscoe talking about his new book, The Surge: Churches Catching the Wave of Christ’s Love for the Nations. This book is part of the Leadership Network Innovation Series and releases in November 2010.

Look for The Surge on shelfve in November, and I’ll also be giving away a few copies here in December.

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I love what he says in this video about being a “mission-minded pastor.” What do you think? In your own church, are leaders encouraged to think this way about the Great Commision?

The Power of a Whisper

This morning I read a short devotional about listening to God.  I found it quite helpful personally and wanted to share.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!: Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  1 Samuel 3.10
Few of us are as open to God’s call as Samuel was.  When we hear God call us, we tend to let his words blow right past our ears.  We listen to a voice inside that says, “God can’t possibly use someone like me.”  Our doubts and fears overcome us.
God knows your weakness.  He meets you where you are.  But he also knows your heart and your potential.  He has a much better perspective than you on what you can become if you answer his call.  Just listen for God’s voice in your life and respond, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
This reminded me of Bill Hybels new curriculum called The Power of a Whisper.  in the book, Bill quotes a poem he learned in grade school,:
Oh! give me Samuel’s ear,
An open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy Word;
Like him to answer to Thy call
And to obey Thee first of all.

Hybels continues in the rest of the book, and through the video curriculum to explain how we can better listen to the whispers of God, and better respond to them.  Check out the trailer for the curriculum and find out more about The Power of a Whisper here.
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Scot McKnight also wrote on The Power of Whisper here.

“ProBlogger” goes “ProPastor”

If you’ve been blogging at all during the last few years then you’ve probably heard of Problogger. Today’s post from Darren was interesting one as it compares writing effective blog posts with writing effective sermons.
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Is your blog writing process similar to your sermon writing process? Or are they totally different?

“Exponential” Blog tour this week

Exponential by Dave Ferguson and Jon FergusonNearly 100 bloggers signed up for a the Exponential blog tour this week. As discussions and reviews appear online I’ll add to the list below. You read a sample chapter of Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement here.  This is the latest book from Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson, and the first book in the new “Exponential Series.”

I hope you enjoy the blog tour this week. Conversations like these can often be the Catalyst for real change in the body of Christ.


Stops on the blog tour:

Mark Howell Live
Bible Dude .Net
Studium et Liturgica
Live Intentionally
Simul Iustus et Preccator
New Ways Forward
Nauvoo Pastor
See Through

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