Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks for what God 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

Volunteers don't quit ministries, they quit leaders

There's a big difference between...
Think about it.

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

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

What about Paul? Why?

Feel free to open your Bible and share specific examples to make your case.

Related Posts:
* All Volunteers Must Be Paid
* Finding, Developing, and Deploying Volunteers
* Volunteers: The Ultimate Leadership Test

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.)

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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Disciplemaking Women...

Because we do this with our friends every year, we find some great gems like this—click image below to enlarge for viewing.
Above: That's 2 Timothy 1:5 NLT

Let's start calling mothering and grandmothering what it really is.... disciplemaking!

And here are a couple more disciplemaking women I'm particularly fond of and thank God for.

But this woman is my favorite disciplemaker.

Have YOU thanked a disciplemaking woman in your life lately? 

I challenge you to share this post with her and to write her a short note of thanks.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monday Funday—Coffee with Jesus: The American Idol

Click image below to enlarge for viewing and reading...
Used by permission from radiofreebabylon.com


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

That Strange Intersection of Anger and Caring

“Anger is often the first indication that we care. The tragedy is that we’re not angered, not shocked enough. The never angered person is morally deficient.” 
—Dr. Paul Copan, Philosopher, Theologian, and Apologist, from the book, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God


Now, if you're not a sports fan, you have my full permission to exit this post now to ponder the above rich and thought-provoking quote.

However, if you are a sports fan—especially if you're a Bears fan—you may want to keep reading. 

After last Sunday's very poorly played game, Da Bears had a "come to Jesus" meeting in the locker room. You may have heard about it.

As you read the following short but thoughtful article, consider why Da Bears’ meltdown in the locker room after the game is a fitting and appropriate response.


And of course, the main point of this post is way bigger than any sport... isn't it?

Carefully consider the intersection of anger and caring in your life and those around you.
Oh by the way, did I mention that my 22-year-old son's Father's Day gift to me this year was to take me to Da Bear's game last Sunday? So. Much. Fun.

That's right. We were at the game where the wheels fell off. So. Painful.

Somehow the game was still a huge win for us :  ) But judging by our anger, we really care about our favorite football team, Da Bears : ) We often console ourselves with this fact: One of the best things about being Bears fans is that we're not Packer fans!


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prayer: The original—and still the best—wireless connection

You pray. God Answers. Imagine that.

Check out this true story...

Hi Bill,

You just spoke at our church and did training—and I wanted to share a story with you that I can only believe has everything to do with the message spoken through you that Sunday day.

I work in an office environment where my coworkers all know I'm a Christian, yet very few life-changing or faith-related conversations have come up ... Sad to say, it's easier to stick to the work and hope your faith shows by your actions and attitude rather than coming out and saying what you know people need to hear.

Anyway, last night and this morning I prayed The Disciplemaker's Prayer and asked God to show me people and situations that were ripe for inserting His word. So as "luck" would have it, I accidentally put my lunch in my desk drawer when I got in this morning, instead of the refrigerator. So when I went to the lunch room, I joked with my coworkers that I was going to eat it anyway because even if it was rancid and I keeled over and died, I knew I was going to heaven anyway. One lady (Cindy) replied, "Well, you'll be in a better place." And another lady (Janelle) asked, "How do you KNOW?" I wasn't sure if she was asking me or Cindy, but Cindy quickly replied, "Because anywhere is better than here."

I'm telling you, I felt the nudge from God... I really think the other lady was implying one can't possibly KNOW if you are going to heaven. But I let the opportunity slip away and for the next few minutes I mentally kicked myself for not responding to the opportunity I had prayed for. I was barely even present in the conversation the next few minutes as my coworkers chatted away, and I just prayed, knowing that I had to redeem this. So at the next lull in the conversation, I said, "Janelle, you know before how you asked how you can know if you're going to heaven? And Cindy, you know how you said anywhere is better than here? I just have to tell you guys, you really CAN know... Do you want to know what the Bible has to say about that?"

And shocker of all shockers, they said, "Sure" (with genuine interest—no eye-rolling I swear)! Now I'm telling you, I'm not exactly beaming about how I fumbled through my explanation, but they listened and Cindy even told me I should start a lunch-time Bible study at our work. 


So even though I botched up the timing, it was definitely Spirit-led prayer that helped me recognize the opporunity in front of me and definitely the encouragement from the weekend training that helped me realize the importance of stepping into the opportunity. Who knows where that conversation will lead if anywhere in the future, but you just never know when a seed has been planted.

Thanks again for your dedication to the ministry and equipping believers to share God's love!

Sincerely,

Beth

Here—below—is The Disciplemaker's Prayer and here's where you can print one for yourself and others.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Monday Funday: Breaking News

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has now been updated for the 21st century...

It's funny because it's true.