Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Funday: Great moments in parenting...

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."
—Proverbs 22:26

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Danger of Ignoring Idiot Lights

by Bill Allison 
Once upon a time, you and your ministry were so busy that you didn't take time to encourage the hearts and equip the hands of the wonderful volunteers who serve with you.

Even though the "maintenance required" light came on—warning you to stop your flurry of ministry activity long enough to schedule some routine maintenance, you still just kept going.

And you got away with it... for a while.

Then you started to notice the engine of your ministry bogging down. You began hearing weird sounds you'd never heard before. You started smelling some funny smells coming from underneath the hood. But you were still too busy driving to care for your "car." So you just kept driving.

Until... it finally stopped working.

Then you had to call a tow truck. And in that one trip to the mechanic, you spent more than you would have spent in years of little investments in routine upkeep.

And here's the kicker: The car never did really run as well as it once did. The damage was done.

The End.

Or was it the end?

Yes, it was the end. Because no one can ignore the dashboard warning lights of life and ministry continually and get away with it.

 No one.

 It most certainly will catch up with you. It's simply a matter of time.

But... there is another way.

YOUR story doesn't have to have this unhappy ending. You can do something now.

It all starts when you pay attention to the "maintenance required" light screaming for your attention. It's telling you it's time to stop the car of your ministry to encourage the hearts and equip the hands of the volunteers who serve in the ministry with you.

Wouldn't it be better to stop now for a tune up before the long drive this fall?

So here's the BIG question:

What are YOU going to do to encourage and equip yourself and the volunteers who serve in ministry with you?

If your answer to this BIG question is, "Nothing," or "We're just too busy," then please reread this article starting at the title.

If your answer to the BIG question is, "I'd love to encourage and equip the volunteers in our church and ministry, but I don't know where to start," then email us or call 815.501.3132 right now.

We can bring disciplemaking training to you and your ministry—or even better—we can equip you to take disciplemaking training to your ministry. The training is fun, affordable, practical, and solidly anchored in the Bible. What are you waiting for... the "check engine" light to come on? Why not pull over now for some routine upkeep BEFORE more significant repairs are required?

It's your call. It's your "car."

But think about it.

What does it say about us when we ignore "idiot lights"?

(Click the image above to enlarge for reading.)

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The last… and best… Cornerstone ever...

We just experienced the last… and best Cornerstone Festival ever. (That makes 27 out of 29 for me personally.)

Why was this last Cornerstone Festival the best?

Two reasons...

1. Because it was Ivy's first Cornerstone… and her first Crash Dog concert.  I think she liked it. What do you think?

(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

2. My 19-year-old son spontaneously asked me to baptize him in Cornerstone Lake in the midst of a community of people we've had the honor of walking together with for over 35 years. So after sharing his spiritual journey with our community and random people who were already swimming in the lake, I baptized him… like Jesus commanded.
Not sure it could have been any better… except for maybe IF the weather had been under 100 degrees. Thanks for celebrating God's goodness with us!

More fun pictures from this last Cornerstone... click to enlarge for viewing:
Sitting around the Streatorville camp fire until the early morning hours. Libby and Sadey asleep on the couch. That's right... a couch.

Bill's Ska Band, Must Build Jacuzzi, played while some in the audience skanked. It's something you gotta see to believe.... but everyone seems to have a lot fun. Did I mention it was 105 degrees? (Note the horn section to the left.)

If this looks like a bunch of over grown kids swimming in Kool Aide in a kiddy pool... well... that's exactly what it is. More Cornerstone craziness and fun.  Did I mention the average temperature for the week was over 100 degrees?

Then on to the annual game of buck-buck. It's a tradition.

A time of community and worship with the guitar and banjo. Yep. Banjo.

Each night... gathering... following Jesus... together.

We all agree. While Cornerstone has lots of fun bands and teaching, we think it's most important feature is enjoying God together. That's why well probably all get together next 4th of July and camp out... Cornerstone Festival or no Cornerstone Festival. For us, it never really was just about the music. It's about following Jesus... together.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Breaking Ironic News Update...

* Go on a Diet and Gain Weight (4/11/18)

Was Mike Pence Right(11/29/17) 

Not drinking coffee = slow suicide (7/16/17)

Father's Day 2017: Christian Fathering AND Missing the Point (6/2/17)

* Who knew grandma was a fertile Mertle? (3/16/17)

Man seeks retraining order against God (5/19/16)

112 year-old woman smokes 30 cigs a day (1/29/16)

Study finds there are too many studies (3/13/15)

* Coexist artist brutally beaten (2/11/15)

* Wedding Irony (2/2/15)

* Large cockroach interrupts city council meeting while Pest Control Boss is talking (10/25/14)

* Exercise: The gateway to bad health (8/14/14)

* Science Flip-Flop: You CAN eat butter again! (7/15/14)

Woman arrested for stealing Bible (6/3/14)

* "Stubborn Men" is redundant (5/14/14)

* Vegetarians less healthy, lower quality of life (4/2/14)

* Man hits girlfriend with anger management book (3/26/14)

* The Noah Movie (3/21/14)

* Caffeine is good for you! (1/23/14)

* God punishes WisconSIN the day after the Packers beat Da Bears (12/30/13)

* Scientists discover that men and women are different —who knew, right? (12/3/13)

* Thanksgiving and Black Friday: From "Thank you God" to "Give me that big, flat screen TV or I'm gonna punch you in the face" (11/29/13)

* How to win an election (11/8/13)

* Oreos are more addictive than cocaine (10/16/13)

* Gene Simmons of Kiss defends Tim Tebow and Christianity. (9/13/13)

* Holy Toledo! Man tries robbing gas station with a Bible (9/1/13)

* Coffee drinkers less likely to commit suicide (7/27/13)

Cost of beans going down, Starbucks price is going up (6/21/13)

* Coffee addiction is now a Mental Disorder (6/7/13)

* Woman beats another woman with the Bible (5/15/13)

* We're more connected and less kind than ever (4/10/13)

* Hollywood Wisdom is an oxymoron (3/25/13)

* Pessimistic people live longer. (2/27/13)

* Global warming protest march on the coldest day of the year. (2/15/13)

* Heart Attack Grill Spokesman Dies of a Heart Attack (2/12/13)

Overweight people live longer! (1/2/13)

Organic food not much different. (9/4/12)

Men who eat chocolate have lower risk of strokes! (8/30/12)

Train for a marathon and cut your life short. (6/4/12)

Drink more coffee and live longer. (5/16/12)

Why I'm gonna live forever. (30 AD)

"I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant...." (2/28/10)

Oh the irony.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What happened in New Orleans DOESN'T stay in New Orleans

Like most of our disciplemaking adventures, this one started off with Chunky Monkey ice cream at Midway Airport.

After a five hour delay (and a lot more Chunky Monkey ice cream… and maybe some popcorn), we were finally on our way to New Orleans and the Evangelical Free Church of America's National Student Ministries Conference known as Challenge 2012!

Inside of the convention center, we found our Cadre ministry spot… where each day we encouraged and connected with pastors and youth leaders before and after main events and our training labs. It wasn't Eysals Coffee, but it got me through the week… barely :  )

Time with Pastor Larry from MN. (Our plane arrived in New Orleans about 1 AM because of the storms in IL. I didn't get to sleep until after 2 AM. I'm pretty sure my eyes aren't actually open in this picture.)

One of the main session gatherings with 5,400 students and youth leaders.

Cadre Ministries did 16 equipping lab training sessions. Yes, we were pooped.  But it was a good kind of pooped… and we loved every student and youth leader we got to interact with!

The students and youth leaders totally engaged our training labs on Jesus-like disciplemaking and disciplemaking as a way of life. Frankly, the students were leading the way!

And we may have had some fun and goofed off a little along the way. May have.

Love this youth leader! He's sitting in the front with students… not in the back of the room apart from students.

We may have gotten out once or twice for that famous New Orleans bread pudding.  May have.  I'm not one to put the words "bread" and "pudding" together, but that stuff was magical.

Each morning started with a youth leader's gathering. These youth leaders came from all over the USA for Challenge 2012… and some even came from out of the country! One of our dearest disciplemaking friends, Ron Kirkeen, leads the way for the Great Lakes youth leaders. And that fanny pack he's sporting… well… it's beyond words and makes him a hit with kids everywhere.

The feeding of the 5,000… literally. Here's where everyone got lunch everyday. Can you imagine putting on lunch for 5,400 students and youth leaders? It's like living at the Allison's.

Here's one of the equipping labs we did: Helping students and youth leaders create an environment for disciplemaking. One youth leader wrote on my Facebook: "So thankful for great your words this afternoon, my students and us leaders loved it!"

Did I mention that New Orleans has this magical stuff called bread pudding? Who knew, right?

EFCA National Student Ministries Director, Shane Stacey (second from the left), with some of those people who made Challenge 2012 happen so well.

Not only did I do equipping labs at Challenge, but I also volunteered to watch over the Oreos in the  youth leaders hospitality room. Someone's got to do it. I was happy to serve in this way.

In my opinion, this (below) was the most strategic gathering of the whole Challenge Conference. Toward the end of the conference, 1,200 youth leaders gathered together to be encouraged and equipped to come alongside of students AFTER the conference… to continue partnering with God in the good work he was doing in the students. The other name for this is DISCIPLEMAKING. I don't how to describe what God did in this room other than to say He did something VERY special and meaningful. I sensed we were all hearing from God in a personal and practical way. That's why were all gathered together to begin with!

We (Cadre) loved partnering with Jesus and the EFCA student ministries in New Orleans at Challenge 2012. Please say a prayer RIGHT NOW for all the parents and youth leaders as they come alongside of these students now that the conference is over. The conference is over… the Jesus-like disciplemaking as a way of life continues.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Monday Funday: Here's a picture that screams, "Midlife crisis!"

Do you have any pictures that scream, "Midlife crisis"? I'd love to see them. Put "midlife crisis" in the subject line and email it to me. If it makes me smile or laugh, I'll post it here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Beware of the discipleship program...

Beware of the discipleship program.

Programs don't make disciples. Disciplemakers make disciples.

It's not just information… it's imitation.

It's a way of life not a program.

Related Links:
* Are you missing the point?
* So much activity, so little disciplemaking.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday Funday Video: The Cliffs of Dover... with apologies to Eric Johnson and all of England

This is how The Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson is supposed to be played…

(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

Impressive right? And this kid isn't even Eric Johnson!

But you ain't seen nothing yet...

Now this next video is sick, twisted, weird, and ridiculously funny. And I LOVE it as much as the video above.

(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

You gotta hand it to this guy.

He's got his hands all mic'd up. He's even running the sound of his hands through a foot pedal and speakers. He's serious about his art baby.

Just when you think you've seen it all. You'll never think of The Cliffs of Dover the same way again.

With apologies to Eric Johnson and the country of England.