Wednesday, December 17, 2014

26 FREE Gifts from Cadre!

Thanks for letting us come into your email inbox every month via Cadre Connection. It’s an honor we don’t take for granted. Many of you have been tracking with us from the very beginning. We thank God for each of you. In that spirit of gratitude, here are 26 FREE audios and PDFs for you to use and share with others in your church and ministry! Get them while you can. And Merry CHRISTmas from your disciplemaking missionaries who serve Jesus Christ with Cadre Ministries.
Bill Allison
Dave Garda
Rennie Garda
Laura Slezak
Jennifer Kvamme

Fun Christmas Stuff to Make You Smile…
* A Satirical Christmas Letter
* Seven Christmas Gifts I Hope I Don’t Get
* Which Stage of Santa Are You In?
* A Christmas Video for Men Only
* My First Christmas Music Video

For Year End Giving to Cadre Ministries…
To support a Cadre missionary, simply attach a note with a check. To give to Cadre, just send a check to Cadre Ministries.
* Give securely online.
* Send your gift to:
     Cadre Ministries
     PO Box 278
     Sycamore, IL 60178

     * Attach a note with "Allisons"

Want to Schedule Some Cadre Training for 2015?
* Contact us.



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Monday Funday: Keeping-It-Real Allison Christmas Letter 2014

Laugh with us... or at us. We don't mind. Unlike other Christmas letters, we think you'll be very encouraged when you read how crazy and ridiculous our family really is. And that is our goal in writing the annual Keeping-It-Real Allison Family Christmas Letter. We hope to make your heart smile and that you feel better about yourself and your family when you're done reading. Honest. The best way to read this letter is to go here. Or you can click on any image to enlarge for reading. Thank you for reading Cup O' Joe with Bill and giving us the opportunity to encourage you.
We serve as disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries. If you're willing to pray our family and ministry, please email me your complete mailing address and I'll send you our family's missionary prayer card to place on your refrigerator! For more info about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here.
There. Now go enjoy the holidays with your relatively functional and normal family.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why our hearts overflow with gratitude to God and you...

We thank God and you for being the wind in our sails as disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries. As you read our 2014 year-end update below, please take a moment to thank God with us. The best way to view this is to go here. Or you can click any image below to enlarge for reading. Thank YOU for stopping by Cup O' Joe with Bill. You make my day.
We you please pray for us? We are disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre MinistriesWe need you. About 2-3 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to say a quick prayer for us 2-3 times a month, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. I'd be glad to pray for you too. THANKS!
We need you. We couldn't take any of part of this Jesus-like disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. We need you. You make our ministry powerful and possible. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here. To make a secure online tax-deductible donation, go here.  Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry.

For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Monday Funday: The Real Santa Punched a Guy

The historical Santa?

Saint Nick?

Punched someone in the face?

Hard to believe, right? 

WHY would Santa get violent?

Intrigued?

Me too.

That's why I'm linking to three different places that have short but very interesting articles about this episode in Saint Nick's life.

Read for yourself and come to your own conclusions. 
* If you just want the quick story, go here. 
* If you'd like a little more history, go here. 
* If you'd like sources for the story, go here.

Here's a hint of the story you'll find at the above links...
Nicholas Meme Icon Council
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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The #1 Reason Teens Keep the Faith as Adults

by David Briggs
[A note from Bill: File this under "Did we really need a study to tell us this?" Below is an article that appeared in the Huffington Post. If you're a regular reader of Cup O' Joe with Bill, you are aware of my passion for disciplemaking with the next generation. I couldn't resist passing this on to you. It speaks to the place where disciplemaking MUST happen. Please share this post with parents and youth leaders in your sphere of influence. Better yet, why not get together to discuss the article's implications for parenting and youth ministry. As you read, make a list of questions that come to mind. Then discuss them. For an added twist, once your finished reading this post, check out this post and compare it and contrast it with this post.]

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: parents.
Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.
Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid-to-late 20s. 
In contrast, 82 percent of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults, according to data from the latest wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion.
The connection is "nearly deterministic," said University of Notre Dame Sociologist Christian Smith, lead researcher for the study.
Other factors such as youth ministry or clergy or service projects or religious schools pale in comparison.
"No other conceivable causal influence ... comes remotely close to matching the influence of parents on the religious faith and practices of youth," Smith said in a recent talk sharing the findings at Yale Divinity School. "Parents just dominate." 
Parent power
Several studies have shown that the religious behaviors and attitudes of parents are related to those of their children.
In research using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, sociologists Christopher Bader and Scott Desmond found that children of parents who believe that religion is very important and display their commitment by attending services are most likely to transmit religiosity to their children.
This is the fourth wave of the NSYR, a comprehensive national study first conducted in 2002-2003 among teens ages 13 to 17 and their parents. These early findings add powerful evidence of the importance of mothers and fathers as the study traces the path of young respondents, who are now ages 24 to 29.
One of the strongest factors associated with older teens keeping their faith as young adults was having parents who talked about religion and spirituality at home, Smith said.
Other key factors included having parents for whom personal faith is important and who demonstrate that faith through attending services. Teens whose parents attended worship with them were especially likely to be religiously active as young adults.
Among related findings, parents from religious traditions that in general promote greater commitment and encourage discussing faith outside the sanctuary also were more likely to have children who remained active in their faith as young adults.
For example, two-thirds of teens raised by black Protestant parents and half of adolescents with conservative Protestant parents had high or moderate levels of religiousness as young adults. On the other end, 70 percent of teens raised by mainline Protestant parents had minimal or lower levels of religiousness as young adults. 
In interviews, many Mainline Protestant parents said they "feel guilty if they think they are doing anything to direct their children toward their religion as opposed to any other possibility. There's a sense of like should you tell your child that what I believe is right," Smith said. 
Yet if parents and faith communities are not able to communicate their beliefs, Smith said later, "The game's over, already."
Empowering parents
The role of parents is even more critical today as trust in institutions decline and many children with more demanding schedules are spending less time in congregations, Smith noted.
Yet, he said, there are some powerful "cultural scripts" that discourage parents from taking an active role in the spiritual lives of their teens. 
Among those scripts:
• After age 12, the role of parents recedes, and the influence of peers, the media, music and social media take over.
• Cultural messages that encourage parents to turn their children over to "experts." In the case of faith formation, many parents consider that to be the responsibility of clergy, Sunday schools and youth groups, Smith said.
Religious groups can help parents realize their key role in transmitting faith to the next generation by working with them from the births of their children to empower them to take on that responsibility, Smith said.
That includes involving them in congregational activities, making sure pastors and youth ministers work cooperatively with parents and encouraging parents and children to worship together, Smith said.
For their part, parents need to realize a hands-off approach to religion has consequences.
"Parents, for better or worse, are actually the most influential pastors ... of their children," Smith said. "Parents set a kind of glass ceiling of religious commitment, above which their children rarely rise."

Read more here.
David Briggs writes the Ahead of the Trend column for the Association of Religion Data Archives. This article appeared in the Huffington Post.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Letter satire...

Surgeon General Warning: This is a satire. If you're comedicly challenged or just don't see any value in fun that makes a point, please leave this blog immediately.
Dear Friend,

It is that time of year again to share with you our adventures in this journey we call life. 2014 has been another year of magic and wonder...

Lori almost 3, is quite a talker. She continues to amaze the professors at the University with her intuition in foreign languages. It was fun for her to serve as Official Translator for John Kerry at the Middle East Peace Talks. She intends to spend this Holiday transcribing War and Peace into Arabic and Cantonese.

Chris, now 5, is growing in leaps and bounds. When he got his first set of building blocks he seemed quite interested in large buildings. This year he designed his first skyscraper and ground was broken in Hong Kong for the new "Little Man" Towers. It is great to have a budding architect at home as he made a new addition to the house and a wonderful gazebo for our garden. Martha Stewart will be filming her next show here in April.

Betsy had a very busy year. In between her work as President of the American Cancer Society and Senior Partner of Goldman Sachs, she introduced a line of children's novels and hand made active-wear. She remains occupied with the children and has introduced them to Yoga and power walking this year. We are particularly proud of Mom as a starting forward representing the United States in the World Cup.

Dave was immersed with his Graduate School studies, and managed to co-author a paper on Multidimensional Customer Attribute Analysis by Conjoint Survey and accept a Nobel Prize for his discoveries in Quantum Physics. Along the way Dave took three startups through their IPO. We are proud of his work serving on the Board of Directors of IBM, Coca-Cola, and Walt Disney. Dad was also active with the kids teaching Lauren Ballet and helping to lower Chris' handicap to 5. We were able to squeeze a little traveling in this year. We started in Aspen, went to Belarus, the Congo, Denmark, Ethiopia, the Falklands, Greenland, Holland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Venezuela, and Zaire. Our trip sailing our new boat around the world was a great experience for the kids, we learned to communicate with Dolphins and discovered a new region of deep water volcanoes.

And Sergeant, our German shepherd, learned to speak. Latin. Other than that, it was a very quiet year. So from our household to yours, all the Blessings of the Season and may your New Year be prosperous. We found out yesterday that we won the $150 Million Powerball Lottery.

The Pretenders,
Betsy, Dave, Chris and Lori

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanking God for what He did in Central IL...

It was my honor to speak to about 500 students and youth leaders at the Illinois State Youth Convention for the Church of God on November 21-23, 2014 in Peoria, IL. As you scroll down to view pictures and read notes I've received from students and youth leaders, please breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to God—because He made it happen! (Click any image below to enlarge for viewing.)
Citizen Way was the worship band for the weekend and they did a great job. "This weekend was a life changer! I'm so glad I came!" —a student via Twitter

The theme of the conference was Jesus in 3D: Designer, Deliverer, and Defender. (Photo curtesy of Kevin DeHoff, DeHoff Photography.) "Bill, thank you for your time and testimony this weekend. God was amazing and I learned so much." —a youth leader via Facebook
It was so much fun to hang out and connect with students and youth leaders from all over the state of Illinois. "I'd like to thank you for your ministry this weekend. I never knew what it meant to be saved, but now I do... and am." —a student via Twitter

On Saturday morning, I led a special Cadre training experience just to encourage and equip the youth leaders. Here's what I did with them. "One of the students asked me to take the 21 Day Challenge with her (read thorough the Gospel of John 1 chapter a day for 21 days). It made my day that she asked me to join her!" —a youth leader via Twitter

"Dear Bill, I would just like to take the time to thank you for giving those wonderful speeches at the PEORIA youth convention. I love the fact that in the last speech you did, you were able to open up about your own personal experience. I'm not, or I guess I am slightly now, a religious person, but you alongside of the band and everyone else that was there, opened my eyes to a new extent. It was wonderful, and I could not ever express to you how much I appreciate your speeches. I hope to hear you again, thanks again!" —a student via Facebook (Photo curtesy of Kevin DeHoff, DeHoff Photography.)

On Friday night and Saturday night, students and youth leaders flooded the altar to do business with God. "I would be willing to bet that in heaven they are still partying from this weekend. This was the most powerful weekend of my entire life. After your message about making sure that God is in the driver's seat of your life and not stuffed in the trunk, all I could do was fall on my knees and surrender my life to Jesus. Along with me, almost everyone in the room was on their knees praying and there are many new followers of Jesus! I would really like to thank our youth leaders for being there for me because they know my story and anytime I need to I can always talk to them and they will do whatever they can to help me and encourage me to keep my faith." —a student via Facebook
I really enjoyed partnering with Citizen Way. Their love for Jesus and students is real and infectious. "Just wanted to say I loved all three of your sermons this weekend at ISYC. Saturday night God had me in tears, and I think Im ready to let Jesus in the driver's seat." — a student via Facebook

Now say it with me...
"Thank you God!"


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Funday: What you get when you have a 3-year-old AND 13-year-old in your house

Question: How can you tell if you have a 3-year-old in your house?
Answer: You've got those goofy magnetized letters on your refrigerator.
Question: How can you tell if you ALSO have a 13-year-old in your house?
Answer: The goofy magnetized letters are arranged to spell the words "poop" and "fartbunz."

Welcome to my twisted world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Volunteers Quit...

Ever wonder why volunteers quit?
Of course, there are a multitude of reasons. 

But I challenge you to consider this:
There's a big difference between...
Think about it.

1. Which of those two sides would the volunteers who serve in ministry with you say you'd fall? Explain.

2. Which of those two sides would you place Jesus? Why?

3. What about Paul? Why?

Why are these questions important?

Because volunteers know when they are simply being used to build a ministry. They want to be a part of a ministry that builds them... so they can build others (aka, disciplemaking).

Show me a leader who has a difficult time keeping volunteers and I'll show you a person who is probably using volunteers to build a ministry rather than using ministry to build volunteers.

This is one of the major reasons volunteers quit.

However, it's important to note:
Volunteers don't quit ministries, they quit leaders.

If that's true, then the next question is:
How do we use ministry to build volunteers rather than use volunteers to build ministry?

Here are a few thoughts...
* All Volunteers Must Be Paid
* Finding, Developing, and Deploying Volunteers
* Volunteers: The Ultimate Leadership Test

If You Need Training for Volunteers...
* For Volunteer Youth Leaders
* For All Ministry Volunteers
* Disciplemaking Training for Volunteers


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Monday Funday: Why your evangelism isn't working


But there is another way.

A better way.

A more Jesus-like way.

A way that has nothing to do with ashtrays.

Interested?

Start here.

And then go here.

Respond accordingly.


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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Disciplemaking should be the norm for EVERY follower of Jesus...

(To read this passage immediately in its context, go here.)

Did you get that? The expectation is that those who are taught should teach others. If those who are taught don't teach others, something is wrong. Ever wonder why people grow old without ever growing up spiritually speaking? Re-read Hebrews 5:12 above again.

In other words...
The writer of the book of Hebrews expects every follower of Jesus to grow up and become a disciplemaker.

Do you?

If not, why not? Seriously. Answer that.

Generally, in North America, we are NOT making disciples who make more disciples.

Perhaps part of the problem is that we're getting exactly what we expect—which isn't much.

Ever wonder how you can swim against this current and make a difference?
The life of Jesus shows us this: True leaders don't create more followers. They create more leaders.

Make no mistake about it: According to the Bible, disciplemaking is the expected norm for every person who claims to follow Jesus.

Even junior highers and stay-at-home moms and working moms. And people who aren't employed by churches or ministries. And even people who ARE employed by churches and ministries.

So, are going to click away from this post now—or are you going to do something about it?

If yes, start right here.

But you can't take a disciplemaking journey by yourself. With whom do you need to share this post?

If you're REALLY hungry for what this post is talking about—and you want some helpful next steps—contact Cadre Ministries.

[Note: I rediscovered the above passage because of thisHere's why you should do it too.]


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monday Funday: Nightmare in Green Bay

We were so pumped up about Da Bear's versus the Packers last Sunday after church.  Billy wore his Grater Head and I wore my orange hair Bears cap.
Then we went to Green Bay and watched the Packers spank the Bears. It was brutal. Final score: 55-14.
But we still had a blast simply because the game was an excuse to get time together as father/son—and enjoy the experience with some fantastic friends who provided us with FREE tickets.

After all, we accomplished our goals for the day!

And we'd do it again.

Preferably AFTER the Bears fire Mel Tucker and trade Jay Cutler.

Da Bears!