• rwanda

In just a few short weeks (February) Parker will be taking a missionary trip to Rwanda. Along with about 20 other high school students. Parker will not only be stretching his reach and call but will be pouring into students to do the same together. This is an exciting time, as I recall my own mission’s trip to Kenya a few years ago.

Please pray for the mission field that they will be visiting, that they will be an encouragement and blessing to the local Church in Rwanda and will be a light and expression of God’s love and care for them. One of the things I love most about the P.E.A.C.E. plan model is that we tie into the local church so that the Church in that community is the winner and sustainer when we are gone.

It is such a blessing to hear and see first hand how God is ministering through others around the world and a pure joy to encourage, empower and love those who love others and share the good news of Christ with their community.

As I reflect on my own time leading a student mission trip there is nothing but joy. However, when I really think through some of the logistics, the moments where things could have gone entirely wrong and didn’t; I think – wow God! Thank you for handling all that. Please pray for Parker, the students, and the mission trip as a whole. I know Parker will be overwhelmed with joy and tired from looking over so many (alongside other leaders as well) as they travel overseas.

 

Photo Credit: My dear friend in the faith, Andrew Abajian. He takes amazing photos. Be sure to check out his site here.

Learn about the PEACE plan

  • Seattle

I decided to share a post on instagram tonight. It is a project I have started to undertake. There has been several late night conversations, heartfelt prayers, mindful contemplations and constant meditation on God’s word, followed with many times of prayer. All pondering this one question, “Where shall you send me Lord?”

It’s a humbling question to ask. A scary one to think about. Can I really be so bold, as to ask an open-ended question like that with God? Perhaps that is why this direction seems different. I can recall throughout my youth and even in my early twenties, trying to ask God for direction in some self-deceiving delusion that I could perhaps manipulate God in my question. What am I getting at?

This verse I was reading this morning in Genesis 13:9b. It is when Abraham and Lot part ways. He let’s Lot choose saying, “If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Lot chooses the land that seems better off and filled with more abundant resources. The point that stood out to me in this verse is that Abram let Lot choose without hesitation or worry. He didn’t try to manipulate Lot’s decision or argue that Lot was picking the apparently more abundant land. Why? He completely trusted that the Lord would provide for him wherever he went as he moved forward in where God called him.

In secret, I’ve prayed for Seattle. I’ve shared and discussed bits with close confidants and mentors, but I didn’t want to say anything about the the possibility of God calling me to pastor, and possibly in a land I know no one in and have never been too. Why was I not sharing? Inside the prospect of caring for people and leading them to Christ brings me an overwhelming amount of joy. To put it simply, I think it has been fear that has kept me quiet.

If I don’t say anything, then no one will know. If I tell no one then I can back out at anytime and no-one is the wiser. Do I trust God, yes! Do I doubt my ability to say that with complete confidence the rest of my life in any situation, yes! I know myself better than anyone. But I also know that my Heavenly Father is with me wherever I go, so as He has commanded, I will be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9).

Although I am not Joshua, going into battle to take the land God has promised; perhaps there are some similarities when you consider the battlefield of the lost – the promise of redemption Christ has given to all, and the spirit of the Lord who lives within us leading the way before us.

Will Seattle be where God calls me? Perhaps. More prayer, fasting and praying are in order, but one thing is for sure, God is with me wherever I go.

  • bioy podcast

Here is the free resource that started when I wanted to take on the challenge of reading the complete bible this year. As often is the case, the more people I take along with me, the better support and accountability I have to finish successfully.

I had been following Nicky Gumbel’s daily commentaries on the bible over at htb.org for a while. I wanted to encourage the students in my youth group to go along with me. But as it took me close to an hour in my daily quiet time to complete this reading, meditation and prayer every morning, I didn’t see a bright future of sustainability for busy high schoolers.

Thats when the thought of audio books came to mind. I listen to audible books regularly, as well as podcast. Particularly while I’m driving or simply to tired to read. So I decided to record the daily commentaries and scripture reading and provide it as a free resource for the students of my group.

They’re doing it! I can track the podcast downloads and subscriptions. The amazing thing is, not only are they doing, but so far an average of around 60 others of you are joining with me.

I mean no offense to Nicky or Pippa, for my lack of speaking strength or fudging of their amazing hard work to commentate the bible in this daily format. I am truly grateful for them and the free resources they provide. I am thankful to share God’s word with those who listen and take this journey together.

BiOY Podcast


  • martysklar

While I was at seeds, we had a unique opportunity to hear from Marty Sklar who was one of the first people in charge of imagineering with the Walt Disney Company after retiring in 2009. During his time there he developed a philosophy for how the Disney team could adhere to a common philosophy in the culture of what they did together. He apologized after admitting that where Moses only had 10 commandments necessary to be successful, his 10 commandments evolved into 40 commandments 4×10 commandments. I would like to share the first 10 commandments which are still in use today throughout the culture of the Disney company.

  1. Know your Audience
  2. Wear your guest’s shoes
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas
  4. Create a weine – A visual target which turns you onto an idea (ie. the castle at fantasyland welcomes you and is the gateway to bring you into a new idea of a new world experience)
  5. Communicate with Visual Literacy – Color relationship in context in their surroundings, form, texture and non-verbal cues
  6. Avoid overload – create turn-ons – Avoid the temptation to overload your audience with everything you’ve learned
  7. Make me excited about the subject – tell one story at a time
  8. Avoid Contradictions – maintain identity
  9. Ounce of treatment – ton of treat – Don’t label it, let them discover it. Make it fun, learning can be fun.
  10. Keep it Up! – As parents set and maintain an example to their children, we as hosts set and maintain an example to our guests.

There was so much to unpack at this session. I will have to share more later to give you the other 4 Ten Commandments that Marty shared with us.

About the Author

Marty Sklar’s work has put smiles on the faces of children and adults for over half a century, and he worked for Walt Disney himself. As Vice-Chairman and Principal Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering for 30 years, Marty led the creative staff that provides innovative entertainment through design, master planning and engineering for all Disney parks and resorts.

Seeds Conference Walt Disney Company

 

  • CraigGroeschelseeds13

4 Steps of How God Build’s a Spiritual Leader

1. The Spirit’s Prompting

  • Throughout our lives the Spirit will prompt us and we may not understand why or what exactly the point is, but it is important to listen to the Spirit’s prompting.

2. Certain Uncertainty

  • Acts 20:22b - “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.”
  • You will experience things which challenge your faith. Walk by faith and not by sight. So many of us want to know all the details before we move forward in ministry when the Spirit prompts us to Go and do. When we want to know all the details before we move forward, we really are wanting a faithless ministry.

3. Predictable Resistance

  • If you’re not ready to face opposition for serving God, you are not ready to serve God. Everything new and affective is going to be met with Spiritual Opposition and in some cases just practical problems.

4. Uncommon Clarity

  • Almost nothing we do for God comes with absolute clarity. We may wonder Why? or How? or When? But that is when we need to place our faith in the Lord. One of the problems with success is that it blinds you from doing good things.
  • Acts 20:24 - However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

We progress in our spiritual development when we let God work through us. When we start out in our immature state we set out to make a Name for ourselves which say’s I’m Good which means Everyone is our enemy. When we struggle with the pride of our ministry we set out to make a Difference which says, We’re Good and this make’s Outsider’s our enemy, whether intentional or not. But when we want to make History for the Glory and Praise of God we say that God and ONLY God is good and our only enemy then is Satan.

 

About Craig

Craig Groeschel is the Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv, creators of the YouVersion Bible app and pioneers of the multi-site video campus. He is the author of WEIRD, Soul Detox, Christian Atheist, IT, and Altar Ego.

Seeds Conference @craiggroeschel

 

  • stevenfurtickseeds13

“I would if I could, but I can’t ; so I won’t”

We have all hear that old phrase I would if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t. But this is entirely the wrong perspective when it comes to our calling. When we plug-in to God we allow His power to enable us to do it.

Picture this. When you take a picture on your iPhone, it goes up to the iCloud and then your other device, let’s say your new iPad Mini, downloads that photo onto your iPad. But if your iPad didn’t have an internet connection, it would be disconnected from the iCloud and the ability to view that photo on our iPad just isn’t possible. God is like the iCloud 9000 and we are like the iPad. We need to stay connected with God so that His power can enable us to fulfill our purpose and calling (like showing the photo on the iPad). So perhaps we the first half of that old phrase is true, perhaps we just need to edit it a little. Instead we could say, “I would if I could, but I can’t, but God can, so I will.”

Gideon is a perfect example of someone who was a “super chicken.” He was practically afraid of his own shadow. But God called him and used Gideon to lead battles and restore the name of Christ as a leader. Often times our greatest fears are rooted in comparison an our effort to compete with others in ministry. Don’t get trapped by this while serving in your ministry! Remember that God has called you to fulfill a unique purpose and our temptation to compete with one another would be frivolous.

4 Points about your calling…

1. Your Calling is Active not Passive

  • Don’t keep waiting, just Go
  • The fact that you have a divine purpose doesn’t mean you become more passive in your calling.

2. Your calling is plural, not singular

  • Instead of asking, “What is God’s will for my life?” Instead ask, “What is God’s will, and what part can I be in it?”

3. Your Calling is Present tense, Not Future tense

  • It is not what you will do, it is what you are doing (perhaps your current occupation, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, God has a role for each of us to play)
  • Stop comparing our “behind-the-scene” with someone else’s “highlight reel”

4. Your Calling is who you are as a Person, not a place you go to

  • Judges 6:16

About Steven

Steven Furtick is the Senior Pastor of Elevation Church. He is the author of Sun Stand Still and Greater. Under his leadership, Elevation Church has grown to over 10,000 people in just 7 years.

Seeds Conference @StevenFurtick

 

  • seedsme

I’m getting really excited for the 2013 Seeds conference hosted at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is going to be a great week on encouragement, development, enlightenment and sharing. Looking forward to pass on the cool things I get to participate in while I’m here. They have a great line up and I especially can’t wait for the workshops. Got some cool things headed your way, so STAY TUNED!

This conference is SOLD OUT. But you can still experience it, just go to seedsconference.com and get the stream pass to watch it online. Also you can watch the morning and closing session for free (9AM & 7:30PM CST)  by visiting COTMlive.com. Want to see what is being said on twitter about it just follow #seedsconf

Seeds StreamPass   #SeedsConf

@nathanwells

 

  • crisisrevealscharacter

I was checking out the story of Daniel in chapter 6 today. It says this in verse 7, “The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.” …”10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.“ (Daniel 6:7;10 | NIV-1984)

When crisis happens in our life it reveals what is truly underneath on the inside. If there is something we have neglected to deal with or address, it is likely to be discovered during times of crisis. Unfortunately I have learned this several times throughout my life and while serving in ministry. Sometimes these revelations are more evident to everyone around us than they are to ourselves.

The first thing crisis reveals

Our true character will always be what is immediately revealed when faced with crisis. As we look at the story of Daniel we see that when crisis hit his life his first action was to pray to God, which shows his heart to trust God first in all situations. Now this was not a change that occurred because of the crisis, but rather was an action which was so routined and common for Daniel that to not pray would have been contrary to his true character.

What does crisis reveal about your character?

When you are faced with a challenge that stands in direct opposition of your path, what is revealed about you in that moment? Sure we can make mistakes as we continue to battle through these crisis’, but what does your initial response communicate about who you really are? If you are truly being honest with yourself when reflecting on this, what would you like to change before the next crisis in your life hits?

The end result

Daniel’s faithfulness and character to trust God was used to show the power and saving grace of God to a nation that was blind. Daniel was unharmed and God’s name was praised. How can we bring praise to God through crisis? It’s important that we make the investment now, so that we can direct others to Christ when crisis arises.

  • nobetterthanyes

When “No” is better than “Yes”

What Matters Most: When No is better than Yes. Written by: Doug Fields | 95 pages

This is a great find for anyone who serves in ministry and has felt overloaded, stressed out, burnt out or tired while in ministry. This book is a quick read and can save you from years of pain and frustration in ministry, guaranteed!

The basic concept that Doug writes about is that we sometimes need to say “no” to some really great ministry opportunities in order to say “yes” to some even better ones which are in alignment with the focus of our ministry goals. Saying “No” to ministry can be one of the hardest things to do, at least for me. Often times I feel guilty or feel that I am letting someone down by saying “No.” But as Doug shares, you are actually doing the opposite.

Sound crazy? It’s not. So be sure to give this short book a quick read. It will change how you look at ministry.

Get the book

 

  • hoursofministry2

We’ve all been there. The phone rings in the middle of the night. That lengthy email comes in. Or we receive that infamous question on facebook, “Can you talk?”

No matter how it may present itself, ministry can seem to inondate us with never ending demands at any moment in our life. We try to plan our schedules and be there for everyone, but eventually someone gets missed and we get burnt out. So how do we plan the hours of our ministry.

While this resides in a larger topic of issues and concerns to consider; I want to offer just a few suggestions to include in evaluating your schedule.

Protect your Sabbath

Believe it or not, life will continue without you. This may sound harsh, but I think it may be necessary to be firm on this one. This isn’t to say don’t be diligent in planning. Have someone in place who can be your backup and temporary buffer for those emergencies during your day off. However, you HAVE TO unplug. This is the biggest mistake youth workers and those in ministry make. Just because “it’s for the Lord” doesn’t mean it’s reason to break this commandment.

Need Help with this?

Check out a great resource which can help you protect your Sabbath here: “What Matters Most”

Guard your Family Time

Our family comes second, only to our PERSONAL relationship with God (don’t get this confused with ministry). If ministry is impeeding on the needs of your family, you are doing to much. God can get things done without you being there all the time. You may want to argue this point and I totally understand where you’re coming from, this has been probably my biggest struggle. In ministry we tend to be the martyr and say, “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” However, the truth is, we would be proclaiming a lie. You need to re-evaluate your schedule and your focus. It may mean saying no to some great ministry opportunities so that you can support and spend time with your family. Realize that your family is your home base. If you are not re-enforcing your base then you are leaving the door open for the enemy to destroy it from the inside out while you are gone. Make sure you guard your home base. It is where you will retreat from the battles of ministry and be encouraged to keep going when the tough times of life hit. You need your family just as much as your family needs you.

Put ministry on hold for the big things

Let me first say, this point does not break the first two. Keeping the first two points in mind, there will be times you need to cancel or pull out of a meeting or other ministry event in order to do ministry. You may of just said “huh?” Let me explain. There will come a time where a student gets injured and is in the hospital, there may come a time when a death happens or when a student just got arrested. These are just a few of many possible scenarios that may occur during the time in ministry. It’s okay to reschedule and clear your schedule to make yourself available for these times in ministry which require your immediate attention. Sometimes this means getting up at a late hour or “working” past 5pm. Ministry is a 24 hour cycle. That doesn’t mean we are required to be working 24-hours at it (see points 1 & 2), but ministry doesn’t happen only between 9am-5pm.

Last thought – Partner Up!

Get a partner in ministry. If you are “THE GUY” in your ministry, something is seriously wrong. I think where we get in trouble here is looking for someone who is just like us. You’re not superman. Your partner in ministry will have different qualities than you and may need help succeeding in an area of ministry which comes naturally for you, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be your best allie. Our differences are what make a strong team. You are making a fatal mistake if you try to lead in ministry alone. Don’t make this mistake, learn from my mistake and listen to this point, please!

The disciples went in pairs to share the gospel. Heck, even Jesus Christ didn’t do ministry alone. He brought 12 people with him wherever he went. Having a ministry partner is not a weakness; partnering up is a sign of wisdom, which is a strength.