080 – Sometimes answers just aren’t enough [Podcast]

Cling to the Answerer

answerer

 

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (80), I am sharing a recent blog post and some thoughts on the goodness of God even in times of trouble and grief.

 

 

Read the post here

 

When Answers Aren’t Enough (Scott Wesley Brown)

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

 

Do you have your copy of my Best Selling Book yet?

 

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What do you need to know about the book?  (click on links)

 

 

Would you like to join me on an amazing Alaskan Cruise with a mission?

Click on the graphic below for more information.  Registration deadline – September 1, 2016. Only 6 spots remaining at advertised price!

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He’s still good

Jesus wasn't for nothin'

He's still good

 

“God is good!”  I hear that phrase and see it on Facebook often.  It almost always follows a report of some kind of blessing.  We got some much needed rain today.  My friend got a good report from the doctor.  I got the job.  My kids made the trip safely.  We baptized three people at church today.

I love hearing good news!  And I love it when people publicly acknowledge the truth of James 1:17—“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

I know it bothers some cynics when a successful public figure says, “I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  It even bothers some Christ-followers when someone says that who has made some, shall we say, less than Christ-honoring choices.

It doesn’t bother me.  I love Jesus and anytime He is thanked publicly is a good thing, as far as I am concerned.

But there’s something that is often missing in our public declarations.  I’d like to hear the loser say, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the ability to compete.”  I’d like to see all of us acknowledge this incredible truth, even in the midst of the worst days and worst news of our lives: He’s still good.

In the past few days, several of my preacher friends have had reason to question the goodness of God.  One lost his wife in a tragic automobile accident.  Another’s wife is going through chemotherapy and is suffering terribly.  Another’s wife fell and broke her hip.  Another had back surgery and is looking at a long period of time before he can return to ministry.  Another lost his sister.  Another lost his mom.

What do these have in common?  They are all preachers—those who are in the business of telling people in times of struggle that God is still good.  It is easy to say to others, but do we really mean it?

The other things all these men have in common is that they are all members of the human race and live in a broken world where terrible things happen.  People get bad reports from the doctor.  Loved ones don’t make it.  Trips are not negotiated safely.  Jobs and relationships are lost.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  You. Will. Have. Trouble.

One of my deeply grieving friends wrote this: “Remember, the gospel is just as true today as it was yesterday morning. When Jesus stepped out of the grave it was a statement and a promise — he had overcome, and he promised the same for all who would own such a humble King. Cry. Be mad. Grieve. But NEVER be hopeless. Jesus wasn’t for nothin’.”

Jesus: He’s still good.  He’s still God.  Our lives still matter to Him.

079 – Facebook Discipleship [Podcast]

Your posts are changing the way people think ... but not in the way YOU think

facebook discipleship

 

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (79), I am sharing some thoughts on how we can disciple church members on their Facebook usage.

 

 

In a previous episode (45 – November 12, 2015), I shared some ideas on Why your church needs a social media policy.  I read something yesterday that prompted me to revisit the idea, particularly related to Facebook.  A pastor had just accepted a call to another church and planned to announce it publicly to his current church on Sunday.  Some overzealous person who knew  about the coming change posted it on Facebook without the pastor’s permission.  The post resulted in rumors about problems in the church, staff conflicts, etc.  I did not see the original Facebook post, but I read the letter from the pastor and staff that was posted on the church website to slow the rumor mill and ease the tensions.

I’m sure the person who posted did not do so with malicious intent, but the unintended consequences created havoc.

This morning, I read Nick Pitts’ Daily Briefing from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.  (I highly recommend that you subscribe to this, by the way).  In it, he linked to an article that said,

“A staggering 94% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats, and 85% of independents on Facebook say they have never been swayed by a political post, according to Rantic, a firm that sells social media followers. The firm surveyed 10,000 Facebook users who self-identified as Republicans, Democrats, or independents, Wired reported.

“The only thing those opinionated election posts are doing are damaging your friendships. Nearly one-third of Facebook users surveyed said social media is not an appropriate forum for political discussions. And respondents from each political affiliation admitted they’ve un-friended people on Facebook because of their political posts.”

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read my recent blog post: The single greatest risk of the current election cycle

 

So, why do so many Christ-followers seem to have no filters when it comes to Facebook posting?  I have actually seen Facebook posts from Christ-followers (people I actually know) that essentially said, “If you are offended by my opinions, tough!  Unfriend me if you can’t handle it! I’m exercising my rights!”

I am convinced that this is not a “rights” issue; it is a discipleship issue.  Mature followers of Jesus are less concerned about personal rights and more concerned about Kingdom influence.

 

So, what can pastors and leaders do to disciple people on their Facebook usage?

  1. Model appropriate Facebook usage.  It is unfortunate that many of the posts that I would consider counterproductive actually come FROM PASTORS.  This may sound harsh, but the fact that you have the position of pastor does not necessarily guarantee that you are spiritually mature.
  2. Talk publicly about appropriate Facebook usage.  It should be mentioned from the pulpit.  Yes, I’m serious about that!  I’m not suggesting a sermon on Facebook usage; I’m suggesting Facebook as specific and practical application when preaching from Biblical texts referring to how we speak, how we influence, how we love, how we obey.
  3. Remind people of unintended consequences.  If you are unfriended because of your posts, you have actually lost opportunities to influence your community.  It also reflects poorly on your church and family.
  4. Teach people the difference between offending with truth spoken in love and being offensive in the way we speak.  If someone is offended by the truth I have spoken, it could be their problem.  If I am offensive in the way I speak the truth, it is almost always my problem.
  5. Teach people the definition of gossip.  The dictionary defines gossip as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”  I want to suggest that gossip is sharing anything publicly about another person without their permission, even if you know all the details.  Facebook is public.  The church prayer meeting is also public.  It is always better to err on the side of caution when sharing details that you have not been given specific permission to share.
  6. Teach people to have really high standards when it comes to using certain words.  The fact that someone doesn’t disagree with you doesn’t make them a heretic or false teacher.  The fact that you have not been allowed to do something doesn’t mean that you have been persecuted for your faith.
  7. Teach people the difference between rights and right.  The fact that you have the right to say something doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to say.
  8. Teach people how to look at their Facebook targets through the eyes of Jesus.  One of my Facebook friends posted this quote this morning: “The way you treat people reveals your attitude toward their Creator.” – Pastor John Onwuchekwa.  James 3:9-10With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 

 

Question of the day: What would it be like if we only used Facebook to bless people and highlight things that are praiseworthy?  Just a thought.

 

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Do you have your copy of my Best Selling Book yet?

 

3D JPEG

What do you need to know about the book?  (click on links)

 

 

Would you like to join me on an amazing Alaskan Cruise with a mission?

Click on the graphic below for more information.  Registration deadline – September 1, 2016.

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  • How you can help me help others:

    Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 

    We are also on Stitcher.com, so if you prefer Stitcher, please subscribe there.

    Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

I got it!

We need more help than we think.

I got it!

 

There are certain words and phrases that are designed to put an immediate stop to everything.  “Stop it!” comes to mind.  “Whoa!” works. “Freeze! Police!” would definitely get me to freeze. I’d be curious about why, but I’d freeze first and ask questions later.

I’ve heard a two-word phrase several times over the past two days that has not necessarily caused me to stop, but to chuckle, especially since the words weren’t directed at me.  My 22-month-old granddaughter has begun asserting some independence—again, only funny because it is not directed at me—when she is attempting to do something and her parents try to assist.  “I got it!” she says impatiently while she pushes their hands away.  I’ve even heard, “I got it! I GOT IT!” a couple of times.

Those words are really cute when uttered by the most precious 22-month-old voice in the world—again, not directed at me.

Something else I’ve noticed about those words: they are not only cute, they are also not entirely accurate.  Most of the time, she really doesn’t “got it.”  She tries a few times and then utters another cute word that is intended to result in action instead of cessation. “Hep!”

You know what happens then.  The parents—my daughter and son-in-law, who are wonderful parents and people—move in and do what they were trying to do in the first place when they got their hands pushed away.  This time, their assistance is more warmly received.

It’s easy, as an observer to draw some conclusions from this (other than to note the incredible cuteness of the little girl … that is my Grandpa job, after all).  My thoughts on the matter are that I am amazingly proficient at telling God, “I got it!” when the truth of the matter is that I absolutely do not “got it.”  When I am left to my own proficiency and ingenuity, I can proficiently make a royal mess of things.

I need God’s vision, guidance, and power AND I need His people if I am going to accomplish the things He has planned for me.  The sooner I recognize my need for “Hep” the better off I will be.  The same is true for you because God designed us to live most effectively in interdependent community.  If we begin each day asking for God’s “Hep” and being open to the “Hep” He sends us through others, we will be amazed at how our lives expand in effectiveness, influence, and purpose.

 

God designed us to live most effectively in interdependent community. Click To Tweet

 

Explore Alaska with me

I’d like to mention a way that we might “Hep” each other in a specific way.  I’m partnering with some other ministries to host an Alaskan Exploration Cruise with a mission in May, 2017.  It sounds like a long way off, but registration and the first deposit is due September 1, 2016.  It will be the adventure of a lifetime and I’m asking you to “Hep” me get the word out.  Check out the information here.

 

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If I can “Hep” you out by answering any questions, please email me at contactgerrylewis@gmail.com.

We don’t “got it” but we can “hep” each other.

078 – A picture is worth a thousand words [Podcast]

3 tools to create great visuals when you can't afford to pay for them

Note: Picture from Pixabay. Graphic created on Canva.

 

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (78), I am sharing 3 resources that I use on a weekly basis to create great visuals for use on my blog, presentations, and social media feeds.

 

 

Why do graphics matter?  65% of people are visual learners.  If you are only giving auditory content, you are leaving out 65% of your audience (gathered congregation).

But we have challenges.  We don’t all have graphic designing training and skills.  We don’t know someone with those skills.  We don’t all have the budget to hire someone with those skills.

There are many solutions out there, but today I want to share 3 free ones that I personally use on a weekly basis.

Canva

It is super easy to use, has lots of preset sizes and templates, and best of all, it is FREE!

There are some premium elements that you can use for $1 apiece, but the collection of free elements is pretty extensive.  You can also upload your own pictures for free, so if you want to use your photos and their templates, it works great!  It is a go-to resource for me.  I don’t have any sort of affiliate relationship with canva, but I am a user and a fan.

One more thing, you create a free membership and it saves all your designs online for you.

Check it out and give it a test drive at canva.com

 

Pixabay

I mentioned that there are tons of free elements on canva and the premium ones are only $1 apiece.  One restriction of canva images is that they cannot be used for commercial purposes (anything that is sold).  So, I can use the images to create graphics for my blog, facebook posts, and even handouts for presentations.  But I am not allowed to use their images for a book cover (either electronic or print) that I am selling.

Hello, Pixabay!

Pixabay is a source for free images that are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required. (That means that it is not necessary to put something like “photo credit: pixabay” along with it).  Pixabay has over 630,000 images, including: photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos.

So, I can get a free stock photo from Pixabay, upload it to my Canva page, use the Canva template to create my book cover and content, and then upload the pdf directly to Amazon for both Kindle and print versions!

For non-commercial use, I use the larger free photo library from Pixabay, upload it to Canva, and then create my graphic there.

Typically, from the time I go to Pixabay to search for an image until the time I download my finished graphic from Canva is less than 5 minutes.

Check it out a pixabay.com

 

WordSwag app

For social media graphics, I haven’t found anything cooler than the WordSwag app.  I use it almost every day to create quick, eye-catching messages for social media (quotes, sayings, Scripture passages).

Best part is no computer necessary.  The app is available both for iPhone and Android.

Tons of backgrounds and text choices, access to Pixabay images, incredibly user friendly.

My process (than 5 minutes):

  • Choose my background
  • Choose text style and color
  • Input text
  • Final edits (filters, shading)
  • Save the finished graphic to photos
  • Send directly from the WordSwag app to Instagram
  • Add message or hashtags in Instagram
  • Post directly to Facebook and Twitter from Instagram
  • Boom! Done!
    WordSwag.co

 

 

A Final Tip: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you want to have the opportunity to share more of your message and to engage with the people who see your graphics.  I put drgerrylewis.com at the bottom of every one of my graphics because I want to point people to the content on my website.  Use those eye-catching graphics to point people to the place where you can share more information.

 

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Do you have your copy of my Best Selling Book yet?

 

3D JPEG

What do you need to know about the book?  (click on links)

 

 

Would you like to join me on an amazing Alaskan Cruise with a mission?

Click on the graphic below for more information.  Registration deadline – September 1, 2016.

Picture2

  • How you can help me help others:

    Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 

    We are also on Stitcher.com, so if you prefer Stitcher, please subscribe there.

    Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

     

The single greatest risk of the current election cycle

It's not who you think

The single greatest riskof the currentelection cycle

 

I am typically loathe to comment publicly on politics, but the current election cycle has stirred up some issues that I believe to be relevant to every person, particularly people of faith.

The stage is set.  Both of the major political parties have settled on their nominees for the highest office in the land. In less than one hundred days, the next President of the United States will have been elected and it will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

 

How in the world did we get here? 

I first voted in a Presidential election in 1980, as a freshman in college.  If you had told me then that this year’s college freshmen would be selecting between two candidates such as these, I would have questioned your sanity.

Yet, when I consider the consistent moral trajectory of our nation over the past generation, I’m left with only one conclusion: we have precisely the candidates to which our consistent choices as a people have led.  To put it bluntly, we have the candidates that we deserve.

 

How should people of faith respond?

I’ve heard it said that we are here because the church has been silent and complacent for too long.  I disagree.  The church has not been silent or complacent—at least not in my neck of the woods.

My contention is that our message has been unclear and our strategy has been misguided.  We bought into a political system that assumed we could trade our votes for a seat at the grown-ups table.  We thought it was our job to get the right people elected so they would support our agenda of reforming the way people behave.  We forgot our purpose of glorifying God and making disciples, seeing lives transformed through the renewing of the way people think. (Romans 12:2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.)

People of faith should respond in this election exactly the same way we should respond in every election—pray, vote, and get back to the task of being the people of God on mission to live out the Christ-life in our communities.

 

Which candidate poses the greatest risk to the cause of Christ in the world?

Godly, intelligent people whom I love and respect will cast a vote for Donald Trump.  Godly, intelligent people whom I love and respect will cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.  Godly, intelligent people whom I love and respect will determine that their conscience will not allow them to cast a vote for either of these candidates.

Here’s the truth: the greatest risk to the cause of Christ is not what any candidate will do if elected.  The greatest risk to the cause of Christ is if Christ-followers bite and devour one another over politics.

I am not in any way suggesting that choices don’t matter and all candidates are equal.  I am suggesting that all candidates are equally unable to usher in a culture of Godliness. I am suggesting that far too much energy is devoted to calling into question the character, spirituality, and moral clarity of those who have come to different conclusions.  If you don’t believe me, you are blind, gullible, and probably don’t love Jesus as much as I do.

I hope that last tongue-in-cheek sentence didn’t offend anyone, but it probably did.  I fear we have marginalized ourselves just about into oblivion by our tendency to be offended by things that don’t go our way rather than to share God’s broken heart over a broken world.

The single greatest risk of the current election cycle is a broken world watching us fight each other instead of showing them what Jesus looks like and that their lives matter to Him.

 

What will we do, starting TODAY, to make sure that doesn’t happen?

077 – Budgeting your vacation time [Podcast]

An answer to an important question for pastors

Budgeting your vacation time

 

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (77), I am sharing some thoughts in answer to a question that came from a member of a private pastors Facebook group I manage.  Troy asked a question about vacation planning.

 

 

Troy’s question:

How do you guys budget your vacation time? This year’s time is already planned, but we are beginning to look ahead. With two kids now, one of which will be starting school in 2017, we are losing some of our freedom. There are pros and cons to different ways of budgeting the time, but we have a hard time deciding. We get 14 days vacation with 2 Sundays off each year. There is a big part of me that says to take all of it at once so we actually feel like we have been away. I read an article one time that said it takes a pastor 3 days to get the church out of his head on vacation, and he begins to prepare for his return 3 days beforehand. If that is the case, he has 1 day of vacation in 7 days. So, with that reasoning, it would seem the answer would be obvious, but it just isn’t. Many times it is simply way more expensive to take 2 weeks at once. Also, if you take two weeks at once, you have one real break away once a year. So, I am just wondering what other people do. What do you recommend? How have congregations reacted to different ways you have used your time? Thanks for your input in advance.

 

My thoughts:

I recently listened to an episode of Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life Podcast (Season 8, Episode 3: How to vacation like a pro) that was absolute gold!  I’ll simply refer you to that link for his perspective.  It would be worth the investment of 30 minutes or so of your time.

As far as my own thoughts are concerned, I want to respond to some of the specifics of Troy’s questions and then share some general vacation thoughts.

Response to Troy:

  1. Congratulations on giving some forethought to your strategy.
  2. I would caution against taking all of it at once.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read.
  4. You can be informed by what other people do, but no one else has your context.
  5. The one consistent thing about congregations is that they are inconsistent.

 

General vacation thoughts:

  1. You need clarity on the purpose of every vacation.
  2. Vacations don’t happen in a vacuum.  Consider the church calendar for the year.
  3. Preparation for vacation is key
    • Preparing the church with plenty of information
    • Preparing yourself by clearing your plate
    • Deciding in advance how accessible you will be and setting up auto responders and emergency contacts
    • Preparing for re-entry when you get back
  4. A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. Be creative and use networks.

 

My go-to auto responders:

  • Personal Email: I will be away and not responding to email from July 23 – August 1. If it is important that you communicate directly with me, please email me again after August 1. No incoming emails will be saved during my time away. Thanks, Gerry
  • Office Email: I will be away and not responding to email from July 23 – August 1. If you need something related to Harvest Baptist Association during that time, please email hba@harvestba.com. If it is important that you communicate directly with me, please email me again after August 1. No incoming emails will be saved during my time away. Thanks, Gerry
  • Voicemail: Hi, this is Gerry.  I will be away on vacation from July 23 – August 1 and will not be answering my phone.  If you need to reach someone with Harvest Baptist Association during that time, please call 940-627-0723.  If you need to speak with me directly, please call me again after August 1.
  • Text messages: Thanks so much for contacting me. I will be away from the office until August 2. Please contact me then. Blessings.

 

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)

Do you have your copy of my Best Selling Book yet?

 

3D JPEG

What do you need to know about the book?  (click on links)

 

Current Best Seller Status

Updated August 3, 2016 at 9:20 a.m. Central Standard Time.  48th consecutive day on Best Seller lists.

 

 

Would you like to join me on an amazing Alaskan Cruise with a mission?

Click on the graphic below for more information.  Registration deadline – September 1, 2016.

Picture2

What do you really, really want?

Free virtual coaching session

What do you really, really want

 

I am a coach—not the kind of coach that stands on the sidelines calling plays, sending signals, and wearing my voice out—I am what is sometimes referred to as a Life Coach.  You have probably heard the term but may not have a clue what it is (other than some trendy psycho-babble-ish term that people call themselves who want to give you the six secrets to ultimate happiness).  Now, if you think that I possess the six secrets to ultimate happiness and are willing to pay me a lot for my great wisdom, maybe we can talk.  It won’t do you any good, but we can talk.

One of the reasons that I have invested so much time and money in coach training is that it takes the pressure off me to be an expert.  You know what an expert is, right? “Ex” means “former”. “Spurt” is a “drip under pressure”.  Uh oh!

When I coach, there is an expert present.  It just happens to be the person that I am coaching.  I don’t bring great secrets, expertise, or agenda.  I ask questions to help that person see himself more clearly.  I help her tap into her passion and vision.  I listen, ask powerful questions, assist in brainstorming, and provide support and accountability to help people take their next step.  For that reason, I have changed my self-description to Strengths Optimization Coach.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” 

 

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. Click To Tweet

 

When I first saw that statement, it reminded me of two great coaching questions:

  • What would you like to be able to say about your situation 5 months from now that you cannot say currently?
  • What will it take for you to be able to say that?

 

So, my friends, here’s a deal!  I am offering you an absolutely free, no obligation, virtual coaching session right here and now.  Why?  Because your life matters to God and He wants you to be all that He created you to be.  Are you ready?  Here goes!

  • What could you do today—in the next 24 hours—that you will thank yourself for this time next year? 
  • What do you want the last 5 months of 2016 to look like for you? 
  • What is keeping you from being the person you want to be? 
  • What is the first baby step that you could take in the right direction? 
  • Who could help you?

 

The greatest teacher who ever lived was also the greatest coach who ever lived.  Jesus knew when a question was more powerful than a statement.  Four different times the Bible records Him asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”  (Matthew 20:32, Mark 10:36, Mark 10:51, Luke 18:41) Since He was not only a great teacher and coach, but was also God in the flesh, He did not ask the question for His own benefit.  He could have easily evaluated the situation and said, “Here’s what you need and here’s what I’m going to do.”  But Jesus wanted them to put words to what was in their hearts.

So what do you really, really want?

 

For more information on coaching, click here.

076 – Cleanup on the Bible Study aisle! [Podcast]

Audio recording of Chapter 5 and Epilogue of my new book

Cleanup on the Bible study aisle!

Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In this episode (76), I am sharing a reading of Chapter 5 and the Epilogue of my brand new book, Why “Bible Study” Doesn’t Work: The epic failure of evangelicalism’s favorite discipleship method — and how YOUR CHURCH can do something about it.

 

If you have not listened to the previous chapters, you may want to do that before listening to this one.

Introduction – Why “Bible Study” Doesn’t Work

Chapter One – Why should we study the Bible?

Chapter Two – A blueprint for a Jesus-focused church

Chapter Three – What’s missing in our Bible studies?

Chapter Four – Transforming “Bible Study” into Disciple Making

 

 

Chapter Overview:

The S.O.A.P.Y. Method of Bible Study

  • Scripture
  • Observation
  • Application
  • Prayer
  • You

 

The 4 Question Method of Bible Study

  1. What did you like best about this study?
  2. What did you not like or not understand?
  3. What did you learn about God?
  4. What must we do?

 

 

3D JPEG

What do you need to know about the book?  (click on links)

 

Current Best Seller Status

Updated July 19, 2016 at 9:25 p.m. Central Standard Time.  33rd consecutive day on Best Seller lists.

 

 

Would you like to join me on an amazing Alaskan Cruise with a mission?

Click on the graphic below for more information.

Picture2

 

 

Crawling into the lap of God’s love

His lap is big enough. His arms are strong enough.

Crawling into the

 

I have a new favorite photo.  Ok, there are actually 69 photos that Mrs. Sweetie took in rapid succession when I had both of my grandchildren in my lap in a Mexican restaurant in Amarillo, Texas.  I still haven’t narrowed it down to one, though I did select one as my new Facebook profile photo.

A lap full of 21-month-old granddaughter and 8-week-old grandson is like a lap full of cats.  They are about as easy to hold still as they are to herd!  It is especially difficult when said 21-month-old really wants said 8-week-old to be in HER lap.  She thinks it is the coolest thing ever to hold her cousin.  Since a crowded restaurant is not necessarily conducive to that arrangement, I convinced her to “help” Grandpa hold the baby.

Through the struggles to hold both of them without spilling one or both in the floor AND to let her climb across and kiss him on the forehead (without mashing him), we probably could have created an America’s funniest video.  It didn’t take long for Grandpa’s arms to wear out, but I didn’t give up until the little one got fussy and Dad had to come to the rescue.

Can I just say that I was in Grandpa heaven?

It is easy to let my mind wander back to when my kids (her mama and his daddy) were a similar age and shared my lap.  I was always happy to hold either of them separately (still would be if they would let me), but there was something extra special about having them together—me loving them, them loving me, and them loving each other.  It is still one of my greatest joys to witness my grownup children being the best of friends and loving each other (and now including spouses and babies).

I think God must feel the same way about His kids—those whom He has adopted into His family through their faith in Jesus.  When they can share His lap in love and unity, it makes Him smile.  When they struggle against each other in sibling rivalry and self-centeredness, when they treat each other with disdain, and when they think it is their right to determine whom He loves most, it grieves His Father heart.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Our lives matter to God.  It is not simply our individual lives that matter, but our lives together.  His lap is big enough. His arms are strong enough.  Can we share His lap together?