Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Would you rather...

Would you rather drink half a cup of a strangers salive or; eat all the hair out of your bathtub drain?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Year End Book Review 2009

Here is the 2009 review of the books I have read this year, along with a brief review and my personal thoughts and comments.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, Michael Gates Gill This is the memoir of Michael Gates Gill. A man who was born into wealth, and had everything. A man at the top of his business. But, he loses it all. When he runs out of options he goes to work at Starbucks (starts at the bottom). This book tells of the lessons he learned from his experiences and how Starbucks, and the people he meets working there, impact his life. Related post: Hello, Goodbye

Book Yourself Solid, Michael Port This business book reveals the secrets to successful marketing and selling. The secret is in truly knowing your business/company, but not only knowing it, know how to talk about it. The reader is taken through the steps of how to create excitement in potential customers, so they will utilize your service or product.
The Great Eight, Scott Hamilton The figure-skating phenomenon lists his eight methods to experience true happiness (even when you have every reason to be miserable). Related post: Scott Hamilton, The Great 8

Consulting for Dummies, Bob Nelson/Peter Economy I was interested in learning about what the job of a consultant actually entails. How it is done? How people make money doing it? Related post: Church Coach

The Noticer, Andy Andrews Perception is reality. There are many ways to look at the same thing. It's all about perspective. Related post: The Noticer

Contemplative Youth Ministry, Mark Yaconelli A lot of youth groups have forgotten why they exist. The youth group should be more than an after school activity, or something for kids to do during church. The purpose of youth ministry is to share the love of Jesus. This responsibility is one that is to be shared by the entire church body, not just the "youth pastor". Yaconelli's book is all about getting back to what youth ministry is all about, Christ. Preparing the heart of the youth worker, staff, volunteer to effectively enable students to experience God. Related post: Churches These Days
Put Your Dream to the Test, John C. Maxwell This leadership expert identifes 10 questions to ask yourself, and answer, to make your dreams a reality. I had the opportunity to hear him teach on this at church (Christ Fellowship), and was able to have him autograph my copy. Related post: Dream Test

It, Craig Groeschel Some churches have "it", and some don't. Through personal experiences with his church, Groeschel, reveals what he has found that determines if a church will have "it" or not.

How to Get Rich as a Televangelist or Faith Healer, Bill Wilson The reader is taken on an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek ride through the world of televangelism. This book calls out the secrets and tricks that the great "healers" use to make "miracles" occur, and tells how to make the right appeal so that your financial coffers will remain full.

The Charismatic Century, Jack Hayford An informative look at the formation of the pentecostal church movement. See what events led up to the Azusa street revival, and how the effects of that revival are still being felt today. Related post: Revival

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leaders Day, John C. Maxwell Based on "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", this book offers a six-week daily reading to help enhance the leaders influence.

The Seven Faith Tribes, George Barna Brings to light the seven most influential "faith" groups in America. He enables the reader to understand what they each believe, how the act on those beliefs, and why it matters to us. Related post: 7 Faith Tribes

Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung Many people spend a lifetime waiting to do something great for God. All God really wants is for us to just do something!

In, But Not Of, Hugh Hewitt This year was my second time to read this book (will probably read it again in 2010). This book offers practical guidance on how the Christian man or woman should appropriately channel their ambitions, and how they can influence the world.

Aftermath, Inc., Gil Reavill Tells the story of crime scene clean-up/biohazard technicians. What happens when CSI goes home?

Breaking the Jewish Code, Perry Stone Why are the Jewish people so successful? Can their success be our success? The answers to these questions lie within the pages of this book by the Voice of Evangelism's founder and president. Stone's book outlines 12 secrets that will transform your life, family, health and finances.

Preaching in the Spirit, Dennis Kinlaw As ministers, the only way that our sermons can be effective is if the spirit of God is in them, and that same spirit moves on the hearer's of the message. If we want Gods spirit on our ministry we must first prepare for His Spirit in our lives. Related posts: Preaching in the Spirt (Self-Discovery); RSVP

The 360 Degree Leader, John C. Maxwell This was my favorite read of the year. Many times we read or listen to these leadership experts, but we don't think we can apply the principles because we are not at the head leadership position of our organization. This book does away with that excuse, and offers practical advice on how to lead from any position within the organization.
Primal, Mark Batterson As Christians we need to return to the primal meaning of Christianity. This is to love the Lord our God, with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength. Related post: Primal,Mark Batterson

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, John Wood He had a comfortable job, an executive position at the top software company, and all the perks that go along with it. But, his life changed after a backpacking trip to Nepal, revealed the need for books and education for the children. He left his job, and created Room to Read. This is his story. (one of the best reads of 2009).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Susan Boyle

I watched an inspiring story the other night. It's not a new story, it's one I am sure (by now) we are all familiar with. It is the story of Britain's Got Talent contestant, Susan Boyle.

It was a "rewind" type of program, all the players were being interviewed, they were showing the past footage of her performance. When the crowd first sees this woman, and she says that she can sing, you can see and almost feel the doubting and judgemental responses of the crowd and judges. They really have already written her off before she even sings one note.

But, then, she sings. The atmosphere of the crowd/judges shifts dramatically, from one of doubt and judgement, to one of enraptured awe. She is amazing!

There are people in our lives who doubt us, who judge us, who say we can't accomplish this dream or goal. Don't let those people determine who you are. Disappoint the naysayers.

Susan Boyle could have just given up and walked off the stage at the lack of hope she was given by the crowd. But, she new who she was, and what she was capable of. She persevered. Her dreams have become a reality.

When people display a judgemental or negative attitude toward you or what you can accomplish. Don't back down. Remember who you are and what you are capable of. More importantly remember Whose you are and what He is capable in your life!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

To all our readers,

Thanks for reading,
Aaron Johnson
Experience Shift

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Would you rather...

Would you rather....

For many years have acne that will go away when your 30, or for life have a birthmark the size of a quarter in the middle of your forehead?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Primal, Mark Batterson

Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mk. 12:30)

This is the passage that is explored in Mark Batterson's newest offering, Primal. The intent is to get back to what Christianity is really all about, take away all the unnecessary clutter, and be left with the basest tenant of the Faith. Primal Christianity is this, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Batterson leads the reader on a journey to reach this point.

Part I: The Heart of Christianity

In his book "A Man After His Own Heart", Charles Siebert shares a scientific yet poetic depiction of a heart transplant he observed at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Not long after, Siebert attended an annual banquet for transplant recipients, and he was deeply moved by their profound appreciation for life. They spoke in reverent tones about the second chance at life they had been given. They humbly acknowledged their responsibility to honor the donors. And many of them talked about new desires that accompanied their new hearts.

Sieber concluded -- and his research is backed up by numerous medical studies -- that transplant recipients don't just receive a new heart. Along with that new heart, they receive whole new sensory responses, craving and habits. (pg. 16)

This is the beginning of primal Christianity, a change of heart.

Part II: The Soul of Christianity

The primal soul of Christianity is being aware of the presence of God. Batterson tells the story of the small, beautiful, island, Pingelap. This island is filled with every kind of beautiful plant. However, the inhabitants of the island are all colorblind. They live in the midst of all this beauty but have no idea how beautiful it really is.

...many of us are as blind to the wonder as the Pingelapians are to color. There are miracles all around us all the time, but we lack the perceptual capacity to perceive them. We are in the presence of God, but we are unaware of it. We are surrounded by the glory of God but can't see it. (pg. 59)

Part III: The Mind of Christianity

Loving God wit all your mind literally means loving God with all your mind. It means managing your mind. It means making the most of your mind. It means loving God logically and creatively, seriously and humorously, intuitively and thoughtfully. (pg. 94)

Imagination is a form of God worship. As we surrender our imaginations, and creativity to Him. We are worshipping, as we worship He fills our minds with more imaginations and creativity for His glory.

Part IV: The Strength of Christianity

God desires for our strength to be surrendered to Him. As we physically serve others (mission trips, work days, etc.) God is worshiped. A lot of people want to stay away from the "labor" ministries (set up/tear down, work and witness, service projects), and stick with the "easy" ministries. However, those people miss out on one of the four primal factors of our Faith. God desires our strength. As we work, and wear our physical bodies down, for Him, He is worshipped.

Let this be the first book you read in 2010! Return to the primal foundations of the faith. Embark on "A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity".

Let this book set your spiritual tone for 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knockout Entrepreneur, George Foreman

This book wins my worst read of the year award. Anybody serious about business, entrepreneurship, or just reading in general should avoid this book.

The principles, and ideas contained in its pages are paper thin, and are nothing new, groundbreaking or earth shattering. This book is replete with references to everything that "George Foreman" has done ("I did this, this happened to me, I obtained this").

From someone who has authored several books, this is a major disappointment. This may be able to slide by from a first time author, but not so, from a supposedly seasoned business person, and author. This book was so horrible, that I could not even bring myself to finish reading it.

Do not buy this book. Skip it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Would you rather..."

Would you rather thoroughly lick the entire surface of ten $1 bills and $2 worth of quarters; or, thoroughly lick the mouthpieces of four football players after a game?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Give More, Spend Less:Advent Conspiracy

A situation I have always wondered about, and never really understood is this...

If it is my birthday, and I have a great party, everyone comes and brings me a gift. I don't buy gifts for them on my birthday. At Christmas, Christ's birthday, we give gifts to everybody except for Him. Doesn't really make sense to me.

We could say how can we give a gift to Christ? The gift that Christ wants from us is this gift of generosity. Generosity, with our time, money, and resources (stuff).

"Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. [Let them] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Tim. 6:17-19)

I like the part that says God "gives us...things to enjoy". Growing up in church, we are always taught that God supplies our needs. However, this passage says that God "richly" supplies our wants.

We lack in generosity, because we fear what we may lose. We do not give money because we want to save it for something special, we do not give time because it's "our time" for us to do our thing, we do not share our resources because they may be limited. However, God promises that those things we are being stingy for (things for our enjoyment) will be provided. God will reward our generosity, by providing thing for us to enjoy.

The passage says to "do good" or be generous. This Christmas think about your circle of influence (the people you know, the jobs you work, the "circles" you are part of) and consider the needs that are present. What can you do to meet those needs? Can you skip out on a Christmas present, so that you have more money for generosity? Can you skip one Christmas party to spend time with someone who is lonely? Can you share a resource or give something away that will be of greater benefit to others?

If you see a need, do something about it. God has called us to generosity.

This call to generosity has no greater example than that of Christ himself. We are all born into this world with a need. The need for a savior, the need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. God looked upon us and saw our need. He could have done nothing, instead, He sent Jesus. He sent Jesus on Christmas day for the express purpose of giving His life for our need. Our need for forgiveness of sins.

This Christmas, be generous.

Give More, Spend Less.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Original B-I-B-L-E

We are surrounded by every resource imagineable to achieve effective Bible study. We have a plethora of commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, web sites (, and study Bibles to choose from and use. I myself have invested in several types of study Bibles, I have the NIV Student Bible, the Archaelogical Study Bible, the American Patriots Bible, and more. I have purchased these products to enhance my knowledge of the scriptures, to learn/know more about God and His Word. These things are great, but perhaps we need less.

I have put aside the study Bibles with their copious notes, sidebars, and cross references, and am just reading a Bible that has the Words of Christ in red. I am learning more about God, and drawing closer to Him than I have with these various other study books.

You see, the Christian faith is a heart faith, more than a head faith. As I read God's Word, uninhibated by scholars notes/opinions/thoughts, I have more opportunity to reflect on the scripture itself, and what God is speaking o me through it.

Use the study tools, occasionally. But, always make time to just simply read God's Word.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Free Resources

Just wanted to take a minute to introduce you to a good resource...Key This is home to the Bible teaching of Steve Brown, dedicated to getting you, and those you love, Home with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ as your crowning achievement.

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcast, Key Life.

He has available free teaching CD's, and a free periodical. These are great resources, Steve offers a very unique perspective of the scriptures.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Would you rather..." Wednesdays

Welcome to a new Experience Shift feature! Every Wednesday we will post a new "would you rather" scenario. Simply, put your response in the comments section below (write your reasoning, too).

Heres to the first "would you rather" Wednesday!

Would you rather have 5 bottles stuck on the finger of one hand for a year, or a bucket stuck on your foot for a year?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Shift:Advent Conspiracy

Christmas is a revolution. It's not so much the idea of revolution that we usually have of war, weapons, revolt, and upheaval. No, it is more a revolution in the truest sense of the word, a "drastic and far reaching change in ways of thinking and behavior".

And this is what Christmas is all about. With the arrival of Jesus, into our world, our way of life, thinking, and behavior was forever changed (like the revolution that takes place in our personal lives when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior).

But, through the years, something changed. Christmas stopped becoming about Him, and became a "revolution" of us. It has become a time of stress, busyness (often forgetting God), materialism, and focus on self (what am I getting, will they accept what I am giving).

We can go through the whole Christmas season and never truly experience Christ! Christmas is really all about having a true encoutner with Him!

In Matthew 2 we read of the magi, and the gifts they brought to their King. They brought the gift of worship, and they brought gifts of meaning (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). These are the same "gifts" that our King desires, still today.

He desires our wholehearted, and sincere worship. He desires meaning, service to others, sharing life together, and being the Body.

Let's Experience Shift in our Christmas, this year! Let this year be the year of shifting from a revolution of us, to a revolution of Him (a revolution of life-change)!

Four practical steps that we can take to start this revolution:

1.) Recognize what Christmas has become.

2.) Believe it has/can change (a shift can occur).

3.) Conspire to change Christmas (conspire: to act or work together toward the same result or goal)

4.) Take action to start the change.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

At Christ Fellowship, we are celebrating Christmas a little differently! We are taking part in a conspiracy, an Advent Conspiracy!

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.
So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

Brandon Boas

Check out this article featuring my cousin, Brandon Boas:

Brandon Boas knows how to overcome life’s struggles to pursue his dreams. The young man has launched his own photography business and received statewide and national acclaim, all while overcoming the limitations of Down syndrome.

On Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m., he will present an exhibit of his nature photography at Iris Garden Gallery, 79 N. Van Buren St. in Nashville, and those attending will learn more about Brandon and his journey to become a professional photographer. His landscape photographs will be available for purchase.

“The reason why I like to take landscape photographs is because I like to capture the world’s beauty at any moment in time,” Brandon states. “The place that I find that inspires me the most to take pictures are the hills of Nashville, Indiana. The time I like to take pictures the most at Nashville or any other place is during the peak season of fall and springtime.”

Brandon says he likes to capture the changing of the color of leaves in the fall, as well as the blossoming of flowers in the spring, especially if butterflies are floating nearby.

“I began taking pictures when an old friend of the family showed me some of his photographs,” Brandon continues in biographical information on his Web site, “His photographs inspired me to start practicing taking pictures myself. Ever since then, I haven’t put down my camera.”

Brandon says he started off by taking photographs of his family, but then he realized his love for capturing landscapes and decided to pursue it more vigorously.

“At that point in time, my family started motivating me to begin to start taking pictures professionally,” he writes. That enthusiasm culminated into his company, BB Love Photos. “I want people with disabilities to know they can have dreams come true if they really want it bad enough.”

Despite what many may think, having a professional photography business with Down’s syndrome is only one aspect that Brandon believes makes him unique. The second is having no special training in photography.

“I have never taken a photography class of any sorts,” he writes. “I have just reached my goal by working hard and practicing. I am so thankful to have the ability to take photographs. Also, I am thankful for my family who helped me realize how much I love to take photographs.”

In November, Brandon won the John McCauley Memorial Community Awareness Award at Development Services Inc. in Columbus. DSI is a nonprofit agency established in 1975 to help children and adults with mental, physical and emotional disabilities reach their greatest potential at home, work and in the community, according to information from the organization. DSI also provides early intervention services, as well as job training and job placement, independent and group living, life skills training, respite care and family support. It serves individuals in 27 counties and also has a group home in Brown County on Hoover Road.
In his nomination of Brandon, DSI’s Tom Harping pointed out that Brandon’s message is a simple one: “Work hard and believe in yourself.” He added that Brandon has learned to use photography as a way to handle and cope with his feelings.

“A few years ago when he lost his cousin in a car wreck, Brandon took many pictures which were very spiritual and profound,” Harpring stated, explaining that one of Brandon’s favorite pictures from that time was of a barn and windmill at sunset.

“I can see God’s face in that picture,” Brandon says. “The world is full of beauty — sometimes we just have to pay attention.”

Besides being recognized by the McCauley award, Brandon has also been featured on WISH-TV Channel 8 and WRZQ radio in Columbus. He has photographs in galleries, stores and competitions in several counties, and recently spoke at a film series for the awareness of citizens with disabilities at YES Cinema in Columbus. He is also active on several boards: as president of the Bartholomew Chapter of the Self Advocates of Tomorrow and on the boards of Self Advocates of Indiana and Arc of Bartholomew County. Brandon has traveled to Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh to advocate for citizens with disabilities at the national level.
“I want others to have the same chance I got to pursue dreams,” Brandon has stated. “People with disabilities want the same things everybody else wants — a chance to get a job, have good friends and independence.”

Read more:

Monday, November 23, 2009


I received an e-mail confirmation that Experience Shift has been approved to receive and review Mark Batterson's forthcoming book, Primal. Check back for updates, information, clips, and the book review!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Green Show

Who remembers this show? One of my favorites! Here's a clip...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kinesic Jesus

Last week I attended the 2009 Annual FACAP Seminar. This is a seminar that brings together attorneys, insurance executives, private/public fire investigators, and law enforcement to learn and stay updated on arson prevention and investigation issues/developements.

One of the workshops I attended was called "Kinesic Interviews", it was all about reading people. How to tell if the person you are talking to or interviewing is lying, stressed, anxious, etc. It was a really good class.

The thing that struck me the most was this quote from the instructor, "The body was not meant to lie", it's not a natural thing for us to lie. When people do lie, their body language reveals that, the inner stress caused from lying, is released through physical means.

This truly shows the love that our Heavenly Father has for us as humans. He longs for us so much, and wants us to be in Heaven with Him, that our bodies cannot stand to sin. When we do sin, it goes against our very nature.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Preaching in the Spirit (Self-Discovery)

All too often we preach about history and abstract values when we should be able to say, "The Word of God has come alive for me. Here's what it says about me and to me!" That's the point of being biblical in our preaching: We must present the Bible not only as the Word of God, but as the Word of God about us. Biblical preaching involves more than reciting and explaining the text. Most evangelical preachers can quote significant portions of Scripture, but that is not enough; Scripture must be presented in such a way that it speaks to the needs of the person who hears it. That can occur only through the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit's internal revelation breaks into the preacher's mind and attends his preacing, it has the potential for radically transforming people's lives.

- Dennis Kinlaw ("Preaching in the Spirit")

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Little is Much

Little is much when God is in it!Labor not for wealth or fame.There’s a crown—and you can win it,If you go in Jesus’ Name.
A lot of times this great chorus is associated with things. "Give your $10 to tithe and God will bless it and make it great." Really, this song is about us. The things we do in this life are pretty small. Someone else did my job before me, someone else will do after me. The difference maker is Jesus. When we abide in Him, and He dwells in us, our lives are made great. The little things we do, become great. As Christ followers, our lives are meant for so much more than the minutae of the day-to-day. God turns our "little" selves, into "much" for His Kingdom.
In the harvest field now ripenedThere’s a work for all to do;Hark! the voice of God is callingTo the harvest calling you.

Little is much when God is in it!Labor not for wealth or fame.There’s a crown—and you can win it,If you go in Jesus’ Name.

In the mad rush of the broad way,In the hurry and the strife,Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,Give to them the Word of Life.

Does the place you’re called to laborSeem too small and little known?It is great if God is in it,And He’ll not forget His own.

Are you laid aside from service,Body worn from toil and care?You can still be in the battle,In the sacred place of prayer.

When the conflict here is endedAnd our race on earth is run,He will say, if we are faithful,“Welcome home, My child—well done!”

Hear the song at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Local Headlines

Home Depot worker wears 'under God' button more than year, then gets fired

OKEECHOBEE — Trevor Keezer didn’t start working at The Home Depot to make a religious statement. He just wanted to earn money for college.
“I want to go to school to become a nurse,” said the 20-year-old Okeechobee resident.
Keezer says for 19 months, ever since he started working as a cashier at The Home Depot in Okeechobee, he’s worn a button with an American flag on it that reads: “One nation under God, indivisible.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Hobbled Church

Seth Godin a marketing expert/author/blogger recently posted this in regards to "the problem with cable news thinking":

Not only the networks of all political persuasions that come to mind, but the mindset they represent...

When I was growing up, Eyewitness News always found a house on fire in South Buffalo. "Tonight's top story," Irv Weinstein would intone, "...a fire in South Buffalo." Every single night. If you watched the news from out of town, you were sure that the city must have completely burned to the ground.

Cable news thinking has nothing to do with fires or with politics. Instead, it amplifies the worst elements of emotional reaction:

1.) Focus on the urgent instead of the important.

2.) Vivid emotions and the visuals that go with them as a selector for what's important.

3.) Emphasis on noise over thoughtful analysis.

4.) Unwillingness to reverse course and change one's mind.

5.) Xenophobic and jingoistic reactions (fear of outsiders).

6.) Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform.

7.) Things become important merely because others have decided they are important.

8.) Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber (agree with this edict or change the channel).

9.) Ill-informed about history and this particular issue.

10.) Confusing opinion with the truth.

11.) Revising facts to fit a point of view.

12.) Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time.

If I wanted to hobble an organization or even a country, I'd wish these twelve traits on them. I wonder if this sounds like the last board meeting you went to...

It seems that perhaps Satan has found this to be true and is utilizing these 12 methods to disable the Church. If you find yourself in the midst of a spiritually dead congregation, maybe it's time for an "evaluation of mindset".

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Movie (Never Made)

One of todays best Christian fiction authors is, Ted Dekker. His fictional stories read like modern day parables. He has written a 4 book series, called Circle Series (Red/Black/White/Green). This series would appeal to fans of sci-fi/fantasy.

Mark Carroll of Christian Video Magazine penned the following article that I would recommend you tto read as an accurate introduction to the Circle Series, and the work of Ted Dekker.

**Reflections on the Best Movie Yet to be Made**

Monday, October 05, 2009

Church Coach

I don't really get it? Maybe it's just me, and if the readers get it, then please explain it to coaching.

These great pastors/teachers/leaders/conference speakers, they start these "mentoring" programs, stating that they have this great burden on their heart for pastors, and building them up as leaders. So, they start these programs where you get to meet with them one-on-one weekly/monthly, talk together, and learn from the great teacher. Some of these coaching programs also grant the mentee free access to the great preacher, for special times of need or when help is needed. This is awesome, that these great pastors and teachers, want to utilize their time, and pour into other pastor/teachers, to make them more effective in their ministry for the Kingdom.

But wait, all this great learning, mentoring, and access is going to cost you. Prices vary, but usually in the area of $300-400 per session, and on into the thousands of dollars. Yes, its true, to sit down at Starbucks, drinking a $5 coffee, with a great pastor that you strive to model your ministry after is going to cost you.

Great pastor/teachers get paid to carry out the daily habits that all Christians should instinctively just do. Building one another up, createing disciples of Christ, spending time being "iron sharpening iron". Pouring, in a significant way, into the lives of others.

I wonder how much the 12 disciples had to pay to be "mentored" by Jesus, Himself?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Business Unusual: Work That Skirt! -

For years, the debate over modesty has ravaged the church. What is modesty? What does it mean to dress modestly? Does every inch of skin except for the hands and face need to be covered? What does the Bible really say? Should women wear pants or not? What can men not wear?

The church women have always complained that they get treated unfairly because they can wear pants, skirts, or shorts. But men, well, our options are limited (pants/shorts), until now....

The man skirt...

Business Unusual: Work That Skirt! -

Posted using ShareThis

This was absolutely amazing to me! Pretty sick...

check them out at

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rule of 5

This morning at church, Dr. John Maxwell, taught on generosity in a message titled "Pay it Forward". One of his points to be generous was to take action; part of taking action is following the Rule of 5.

If there is a big tree to be removed, and the farmer goes out once a day and takes 5 chops at it with his axe, eventually the tree will fall. On the day that the tree falls, the farmer is no better at using an ox, he wasn't any stronger, he didn't do anything different or special on the day the tree fell, he simply kept at it everyday until it was accomplished.

That is the key to taking action and being met with success, just do something, do it every day. This is my weakness, I have a lot of really great ideas, however, most of them never get started, the ones that do never get finished. We worry about everything being done just right, or for everything to be done in the right timing. All we really need to do is a little every day, starting where we are.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Secret Information of Utmost Importance...Coming Soon!

Something that really "grinds my gears"...

All these great authors write books (non-fiction), because they feel that they have important information/solutions/insight that all people should know. That's awesome! Thank-you so much. But, in order to receive this life-changing information you'll have to pay anywhere from $14.99-21.99.

If the message is so important, and life-changing (and it should be, if people are going to spend time reading it), then why not provide it for free. Free online or in print. If the message produces life change then people should be happy to freely contribute/donate to the authors vision.

It reminds of the news on TV, " 11 we reveal local restaurants that have failed health inspections due to rampant rat infestations..." What!? What if I am planning on eating at this "mystery" restaurant at 6? Now I have to wait until 11:00 at night to find out why I suddenly feel ill. How important is that bit of news?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

7 Faith Tribes

George Barna identifies the seven faith tribes that make up the American identity; Casual Christians, Captive Christians, American Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims, and Skeptics. He delves deeply into these tribes and outlines the way they think, what they value, and why they matter.

I was especially struck by his description of the casual Christians. These are the "Christians" that show up to church (usually), but that is about as deep as it goes. They don't desire closeness with God, they don't really spend any time in personal devotions, they are more concerned with the material (wealth, fame, health, etc.), and self-improvement.

A lot of churches/pastors seem to cater to this Christian more than try to grow them to become a Captive Christian (the Christian whose main goal in life is Christ like-ness, not earthly pursuits). The casual Christian is the one who is happy to attend the church that mainly preaches "how to..." sermons, the preachers that put on a motivational seminar every Sunday. Those preachers are the ones that attract large crowds of casuals.

The main point of the book is that, although there are all these different belief systems that make up America, there is common ground that we all share. In order for the American people to take back our country, and return it to the greatness it once was we need to rally around our 20 shared values:

1. Represent the truth well.

2. Develop inner peace and purity.

3. Seek peace with others.

4. Demonstrate wisdom.

5. Be forgiving.

6. Practice self-restraint.

7. Get yourself together before criticizing.

8. Invest in young people.

9. Respect life.

10. Treat others how you want to be treated.

11. Be a good citizen.

12. Justify people's respect.

13. Avoid harmful behavior.

14. Honor the elderly.

15. Be generous.

16. Do not judge or condemn others.

17. Be mutually respectful of human rights.

18. Cultivate civility.

19. Belong to a caring community.

20. Facilitate basic skills.

With the great emphasis placed on leadership, it is easy to forget how to follow. However, in order to maintain the strength of America we need to learn to support our leaders, by following them. Twelve commitments of great followers are:

1. Know what you're looking for in a leader.

2. Live and die for the vision.

3. Refuse to settle for anything but the best.

4. Provide constructive feedback.

5. Hold leaders to the highest reasonable standards - and expect them to do the same with you.

6. Always place community interest above self-interest.

7. Be proud of your leaders.

8. Become a great team player.

9. Perform your duties with excellence.

10. Add value all the time.

11. Focus on the future.

12. Keep growing personally.

In the later chapters of the book, Barna outlines how we must recommission the media (tell them what we want, not just suffer through mindless entertainment, and bad news) and step up the families contribution (be the parents, stop outsourcing our kids, stop using the excuse of, "I do the best I can").

He presents a vision for restoring America. Barna reminds us that through adversity Americans have always come out on top.

"What we need in the United States is not division, what we need in the Unite States is not hatred, what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black...tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." -Sen. Robert Kennedy, on the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


A student ministries pastor, and friend of mine, Jarm Turner, sent me this:

We are kicking this “WE” series off this week in Crossings and we are using this story of “Into the Wild” as an illustration. Great Book Great Movie if you have not seen it. VERY POWERFUL STORY of a young man who thought it best to go at it alone and right when he had enough of isolation and tried to get back to the relationships he left behind – he found himself trapped in the Alaskan wilderness.

Here is the clip of his final moments depicted in the movie:

Here is the story: Great stuff when talking about community and isolation:
In 1990, Christopher McCandless was just a recent graduate from Emory University. After leaving Atlanta following his college commencement, Chris set out on a quest for independence. He changed his name, cut off contact with his family, donated all his savings to charity and abandoned his car. Inspired by writers like Jack London and Henry David Thoreau, Chris thought that if he set out to live in the wilderness of Alaska alone, he would experience freedom, achieve the ultimate, complete independence from people and a pure union with nature. After hitchhiking and journeying south, west and north, he ended up at the culmination of his dream—in the wilds of Alaska, on the Stampede Trail. He brought ten pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, a camera, several boxes of rifle rounds, some camping gear and a journal. He didn’t take a map or a compass. In his mind, this was as authentic a trip as he could make to experience the ideals of the wilderness. And he thought the truest expression of this would be to do it alone.

Chris lasted 112 days in the Alaska wilderness. He was dead for two and a half weeks before his body was found in early September by a group of moose hunters, and even then the cause of death was uncertain. Apparently Chris either died of starvation or from eating a poisoned seed plant. His story is the literal picture of our inability to do life alone. In the bestselling book Into the Wild (1996) by Jon Krakauer, where Chris’s story is told, the reader gets the impression that towards the end of his life, even Chris started to realize the need for people. Just days before dying, after having finished the reading and rereading of some of his favorite books, Chris writes, “An unshared happiness is not happiness . . . happiness is only real when shared” Just days earlier, Chris had made his first attempt to leave his campsite only to find himself trapped by a raging river moving too fast and being too cold to swim. He confessed in his journal to being scared . . . afraid . . . and lonely. At one point, Christopher felt as though being alone was the best way to live. He felt that being in the wild completely alone was true freedom. He was convinced that by escaping the real world, government, society and people, he would be able to find answers and a better, easier life. But his journal, his books, his notes seem to suggest he didn’t die thinking this way. They seem to hint at the fact that shortly after it was too late, he understood the need for people, the comfort of community. Christopher McCandless is remembered as a failed attempt to make it alone.

"Ask me how you can be a voice for the next generation."
Jarm Turner
Student Ministry Pastor
St. Mark's Church
336-584-8983 Ext 13 - Office
336-693-6755 - Cell

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Revival Call

My personal devotions have been spent in the book of Joel for the last few days. The theme of Joel is revival. Revival to the nation of Israel. Joel opens his book by lamenting Israels plight. A nation that has lost sight of and touch with its God, ground that is no longer fruitful, crops destroyed by locust swarms, people enjoying the lives of sin with no regard for closeness with God.

Joel begins to call his people back to their God, with this admonition,

Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! (Joel 2:1)
It is important to pause here and look at the significance of the "trumpet". The horn referred to here was most likely the rams horn or shofar. In Hebrew culture the shofar was blown only on certain occasions:
  • to summon warriors to battle, and signal the beginning of an attack.
  • to summon worshippers to Jerusalem.
  • blown by watchmen to indicate important news (of celebration, or disaster)
  • on holy occasions (Day of Atonement, return of the Ark, renewal of the covenant, temple worship)

Joel was calling Israel to revival! He was calling them to a spiritual attack, signaling the beginning of a spiritual battle to take back the hearts and minds of the Israelites, and return them to the things of God. He was calling the people to put aside their sinful ways and return to their worship of God, that they once couldn't escape from. Joel was warning of the disaster of life without God.

Joel does not just give warning, he also proclaims the battle plan,

"Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." (Joel 2:12)

Perhaps Joel's call to the Israelites, also serves as a call to Revival for us today. As "Christians" become more and more casual in their relationship with God, happy to come and go to church, without ever experiencing the face and power of God, happy to return home to a life void of devotion to Him, perhaps this is the call that God wants us to heed. The call to revival!

Joel's strategy for battle for the Israelites, is our strategy for revival today. "Turn to Me with all your heart", we have to actively turn our hearts to Him. We need to step away from the distractions, and the things that pull us from His presence, and make a concentrated effort to turn all our heart to Him.

As committed and captive Christians God is calling us to battle. To battle the things of this world, the distractions that draw us away from God, the lack of a "need" to worship, God is calling us to fight for our souls, and the souls of those around us. He is calling us to fight for Revival!

Revival of our hearts will require fasting, weeping, mourning. It will require fervent, dedicated, and focused prayer. It will require weeping, mourning, remorse, and regret over the condition of ours and others souls. It will require a desire to be close to God!

What is it in your life that you need to battle? What actions do you need to take to draw close to the heart of God? What distractions do you need to step away from, so you can see Him more clearly?

In conclusion I would like to close with this story of the Boston Tea Party:

After the Boston Tea Party, the British navy retaliated by blockading the port of Boston. The colonies surrounding Massachusetts responded with sympathy and action. On May 24, 1773, the House of Burgesses in Virginia proposed and approved a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer:

This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and the evils of civil war; to give us one heart and mind firmly opposed, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights; and that the minds of his Majesty and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation, and justice, to remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger from a continued pursuit of measures pregnant with their ruin. (from The American Patriot's Bible)

Chick-fil-a Song

Tim Hawkins Comedy:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God @ Ramsey

Ramsey Campmeeting was like a breath of fresh air. To experience the presence of God in the "old-fashioned" way. The presence of God that cancels the preaching because people are running and shouting in the aisles, hugging one another, coming to a relationship with Christ, and giving testimony after testimony to the witness of the holy spirit, and the power of God.

The spirit of God met with His people under the anointed ministries of Rev. Terry Walker and Dr. Robert England.

Concerning revival, it was said of the late Charles Spurgeon that, if he had to do his ministry over again he would focus more on revival than evangelism, for if the church is revived then evangelism will happen. What a powerful thought! I was amazed to hear this sermon topic on the first night that I was at this camp meeting, as this is the very issue that God has been speaking to me about! May this be our prayer, that God would send revival to our hearts, and churches, that souls may be saved!

Another interesting sermon was that on, Fresh Oil, taken from Psalm 92:10, "But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil." O, that our hearts and souls would receive a fresh anointing! When a fresh anointing occurs in our lives it is evidenced by Spiritual Power, Spiritual Profit, and Spiritual Refreshment.

During this brief week I was also introduced to the ministry of Latin American Ministries, which is a mission/outreach to the Guatemalan people. This is an awesome ministry, with a great presentation that lets you experience the heart behind the mission. We are looking forward to partner with this ministry in whatever way God allows (more on this, to come).

Our short vacation was refreshing physically, and reviving spiritually.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


This week Kristina and I are headed to Corydon, IN. We will be visiting family and friends, as well as, spending time at Ramsey Campmeeting. We are looking forward to a time of spiritual renewal and revival.

We will return early next week, at that time you can expect a blog report of the moves of God, that we will have experienced.

Power Shift

I came across this scripture in my devotional time, and was struck by it.

Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. -Deut 34:9

Many churches are in debate over whether or not "laying on of hands" is a Biblical mandate or not. However, there are a couple of things we can take away from this passage of scripture. One, is that the laying on of hands is Biblical. The other is a secret for experiencing the power of God on our lives.

But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face... -Deut 34:10

By following the example of Moses and Joshua we see that at times in our spiritual lives it is essential that we spend time in prayer (with laying on of hands) with those who have attained to a closer walk with Christ than perhaps our own. We see here a transfer of blessing/power.

What are your thoughts on this particular passage?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Lately, I have been reading about the great Spiritual revivals of the past. This need for a spiritual revival has been on my heart for some time. I would always mention it during my prayer time. But, as I was reading God's Word, I felt like God was saying to me, "Aaron, if you truly want to experience revival what are you doing about it?"

My mention of revival in my prayer time is not going to bring about spiritual revival in my life, church, community, or nation. However, seriously seeking for revival, and making it a focus of my prayer time/life will contribute to bringing spiritual renewal.

I have been studying the book of Deuteronomy. The more that I read it, the more that I see that it is a book that is very applicable to our Christian lives today. It is really a book all about revival. Deuteronomy is the amazing story of God bringing the Israelites out of the wilderness (physical and spiritual), and into a place of revival (a new land of blessing, a renewed passion for the things of God). Perhaps God is preparing to bring us, our churches, and our nation. out of our spiritual wilderness and into a land of renewal in Him.

Dr. S.M. Lockridge (rock mix)

A few weeks ago in a sermon series entitled, The Four Faces of God, Dr. Tom Mullins played a clip from this great pastor, Dr. S.M. Lockridge on the who God is...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Clouded Vision

From the blog of Rev. Brian Johnson, Community Wesleyan:

For over a year now my vision had gone from good to poor. My reading had even slowed down because it was just too hard to focus on the words. I went to the ophthalmologist in January and was told that I had a cataract. A cataract is where the lens in your eye becomes foggy. It is like looking out a dirty car window. Thank God for living in the USA and because of our technology, they are able to remove the old lens and put in a new one. I had the surgery on Monday and all went well…I can see clearly again. (though now I need a new glasses prescription).

Where once was a fog, the sun has now shone through and the fog has lifted. A lot of people, spiritually speaking, see life through cataracts, everything is foggy and not real clear. They need to allow the Holy Spirit to correct their vision.

I thought of this passage in Hebrews
5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Many who should be farther up the road than they are now, aren’t because of their foggy vision. Lord, give us clear vision.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Founding Fathers

I love history. And I love America! Thought I'd share a little of both as we celebrate Independence Day.

Before I do, let me say a few things. First of all, this isn't meant to be a dissertation. It's a blog. Secondly, I'm not nominating all of our founding fathers for sainthood. Having said that let me say this: there is a lot of revisionist history that totally ignores or distorts the faith of our Founding Fathers. A lot of them were motivated by their faith in Christ.

Here's some back story on some of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence. Most Americans know next to nothing about these fifty-six heroes who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the cause of freedom.

John Witherspoon was an ordained minister and authored several books of sermons, as well as editing America's first family Bible in 1791.

Charles Thomson served as Secretary of Congress and was a Biblical scholar. He helped edit the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint into English.

Charles Carroll, the last of the fifty-six signers to pass away at the age of 95 in 1832, wrote out his declaration of faith at the age of eighty-nine.

On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for my salvation, and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.

Another Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, is considered the "Father of American Medicine." He personally trained three thousand medical students. Dr. Rush also founded "The First Day Society" which was the precursor to the Sunday School movement, as well as founding America's first Bible society. It was Benjamin Rush who said the Constitution was "as much the work of Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of divine power."

Francis Hopkinson was a church music director and edited one of the first hymnals printed in America in 1767. He also set 150 psalms to music.

Roger Sherman is the only Founding Father to sign all four of America's Founding documents: the Articles of Association in 1774, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation in 1778, and the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Roger Sherman was also a theologian. He wrote a personal creed that was adopted by his church:

I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

I could share story after story, but the bottom line is this: many of our Founding Fathers were motivated by their Faith in Christ. They wrote sermons and creeds and hymns. They founded Bible Societies and Sunday Schools. They served God's purposes in their generation. And I, for one, am grateful.

Hope that adds a spiritual dimension to your 4th of July celebration!

Borrowed from the blog of Mark Batterson.

God and America

Our nation was founded on the 7 guiding Biblical principles that all of our founding fathers felt deep conviction over (regardless of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ). Seven principles which our nation has strayed far from.

Principle #1: The Dignity of Human Life

The Declaration of Independence contains words stating that everyone has certain "unalienable rights" among which are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Matt. 22:39 - You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Principle #2: The Traditional Monogamous Family

Our forefathers held the position that a biblical view of traditional marriage and family is the backbone of a healthy social order.

Gen. 2: 23,24 - And Adam said: "this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Principle #3: A National Work Ethic

Throughout all of America's trials, and economic ups and downs, our strong work ethic is what has gotten us through. We have worked our way through times such as the Great Depression (this economic downturn is long lasting; consistent with the growing lack of work ethic and reliability on government handouts, and other peoples generosity).

2 Thes. 3:10 - For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Principle #4: The Right to a God-Centered Education

Proverbs 1:7 states that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge". Without this knowledge of God the Creator, there is no foundation for any other type of learning. America has thrown out this foundational education component and have built a system with no firm foundation.

Our great universities (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth) were founded(by preachers) as a result of Americas Great Awakening(s).

Eph. 6:4 - ...but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Principle #5: The Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant states that if people and nations obey God (observing His commands and moral truths as set in the Bible), they will be blessed.

Pr. 14:34 - Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Principle #6: Common Decency

A good nation is made up of good people. Consider these words from the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Principle #7: Our Personal Accountability to God

In order for these other seven principles to fall in line, we must each carry out this one. We must always remember that we will be held personally accountable to God. By remembering this fact, this will guide our every step and decision.

Heb. 9:27 - And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

These are the principles that guided the thought processes of our founding fathers.

As we celebrate our Independence the July 4th, let us remember and reflect upon these 7 principles of Judeo-Christian ethics.

Adapted from, Dr. Richard G. Lee's, "7 Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic".

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ozzie Announcements

Check out this great video our church ( made for youth announcements:

American Patriot's Bible

In light of our upcoming Independence Day, I would like to take this opportunity to recommend a resource to you. It is, The American Patriot's Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America. Printed in the New King James Version, this Bible is easy to ready, and understand. The Patriot's Bible is loaded with additional information and Biblical helps. This Bible includes various articles scattered through out, all having to do with the forming of our Great Nation. Throughout the text we find articles, notes, and special passages that clearly display how our founding fathers felt about God and America. The articles give us a firm grip on the fact that we are a nation founded on Godly principals.

If you wish to "discover biblical truths that formed the foundation of American values", experience spiritual milestones in American history, and examine the intersection of American history and the Christian faith, then this is a must have Bible for the family!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


When my wife (Kristina) and I were getting married a couple years ago, we sent out more than 300 invitations. We had about 200 people that actually showed up. Out of all those invitations and all the people that came there were a couple of people that I really wanted to be there. These were people that were important to my life, I would have been disappointed if they had not shown up. These people received an invitation just like all the others, however, I also called these few people on the phone, to make sure they were going to be there, I talked to them face-to-face just so they would know the importance of their presence at my wedding. I made sure they didn't have any problems or issues, I wanted everything to be easy for them so I could be sure they would make it to my "big day". These were people that I wanted to be there, even if nobody else came.

Throughout my church life, I have heard people (myself included) "invite" the presence of God to the service/meeting/gathering. I have heard this "invitation" go out many times, often times I have left the service without this "invitation" being answered. As the church are we content to just invite God to our services, and then leave without ever truly experiencing Him?

It takes more than just a mere invitation. We need to go to God, and beg for His presence, long to experienced His power, we need to prepare our hearts throughout the week (not just at opening prayer time on Sundays) so that conditions are favorable for the presence of God. We need to be hungry for His presence, to the point that it does not matter what else is going on or who else is there. All that matters is that God was there. We are filled with His presence and power.

Or are we just content to come and go without change, content that God did not RSVP our invitation?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barrel Monster

Check out this Barricade Monster:

Disruptive Innovation

Reading Wired magazine this month I came across an article concerning the automotive industry and its demise. Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen believes that the only way the automakers are going to make it is if they apply disruptive innovation. Christensen defines disruptive innovation as a kind of change that alters the trajectory of an industry.

We all have family, friends, co-workers, whose lives seem to be going the way of the auto industry. We watch them consistently make poor choices, that lead them deeper and deeper into a life of self-destruction. I remember as a teenager in high school, being faced with choices and decisions every day and watching my friends respond poorly to these situations. There are so many people (especially young people) whose lives are already in a mess, and in bondage due to unwise decision making.

The only thing that can save these people, and begin to unravel the mess their life has become is a spiritual disruptive innovation.

Philippians 4:8-9 give us the necessary elements for disruptive innovation:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Think how the trajectory of our lives (and the lives of young people) would be changed if we chose to live in peace, if we made every decision based on this passage of scripture. The promise is the the God of peace will be with us.

When I was 18 years old, moving out of the house, starting my own life, a wise person told me, "Remember, the course of your life is not determined by one wrong decision, but by a series of small ones."

Does your life need to go through disruptive innovation?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To whom much is given...

This is taken from the blog of Kevin Wilson, Student Ministries Pastor at Christ Fellowship (Stuart)...

Luke 12:47-48 says, “The servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with fewer blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.“

I have read / heard this verse hundreds of times in many contexts but I saw it in a completely new way this week during a message by Steven Furtick. Often times we use this verse in reference to money or responsibility (example: if we are’nt faithful with a little money why would God give us more to handle). But this week God showed me how much of His word He has given me. So many of us have been fattend on God’s word. We read it daily and hear it several times a week and have unlimited access to it, but the question is, “what are we doing with it?”

One day we are all going to be held accountable to we’ve done with God’s word, no matter how much or how little of it we have consumed. Every week we read God’s word or listen to messages or podcasts, but too many times that serves as the end for us rather than the beginning. Too often our education outweighs our obedience. We have been given God’s word and we have responsiblity that comes with it. When God’s word exposes sin we must deal with sin. When it calls us to love we must love. When it calls us to rest we must rest. Maybe the last thing we need right now is more of God’s word; maybe what we need is to put what we already have into action.

Remember: To whom much is given, much will be required. How much of God’s word have you been given and what is He asking you to do?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Spiritual Mayday

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phl 4:6)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6) (NIV)

There is no situation more anxious for a firefighter, than for problems to occur inside a fire building (burning structure). Potential problems that may occur include falls, collapse, becoming lost, trapped, or disoriented, becoming stuck, and loss of air, or malfunction of breathing apparatus.

When these situations occur, we are trained to call a Mayday!

The word “mayday” is French in origin. The original being, “m’aide”, which means “help me”. The root of this word being similar to our word “aid”, is “aider” meaning “to help”.

As a fire department, it is of utmost importance that we train for the mayday situation. One of the ways we do this is by constructing a training course made of props that simulate mayday situations. The ‘blacked out’ (blindfolded) firefighter starts at the beginning, following a hose line on his hands and knees. The first situation he comes to is to simulate a fall through the roof or floor (this is accomplished by using a ledge/lever arrangement that tips the firefighter into a safe area). After following the proper mayday procedures the firefighter then advances through the training course. Back on the hoseline the next situation is a building collapse (two personnel pin down the firefighter with pallets or a section of fence). The firefighter calls the mayday, then advances. An entanglement prop is the next hurdle to overcome. As the firefighter follows the hoseline, crawling through the maze his air pack/bottle becomes entangled on wire or rope. After trying to, unsuccessfully, free himself, the mayday is called. The final prop is to simulate being lost or disoriented. As the firefighter makes his way to the dead-end of the maze a door is closed behind him. Now, when he turns to go back the way he came, there is no opening he is boxed in. His only option is to call the mayday.

Through out the obstacle course the firefighter has encountered (and properly responded to) the four mayday parameters:

  • Fall - no matter what through
  • Collapse - having something collapse on the firefighter
  • Lost/Trapped - becoming disoriented, not knowing where to go
  • Stuck - becoming entangled

There is a proper way to call the mayday. This method is used over and over and over again throughout the training process, so that it becomes second nature. If the need arrises to call the mayday, the process can be accomplished more smoothly as a learned habit.

After the firefighter realizes that he is in a mayday situation, he must conduct the proper actions to ensure that his mayday is realized. The first step is to press the EIB button on his radio. The “emergency identifier button” sends out an emergency signal. When this button is pressed it cuts off all radio communications except for the downed firefighters. This gives radio silence on the fire scene allowing the endangered firefighter only, to transmit his message. After the EIB has been activated, the firefighter must broadcast his message, starting with , “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”. After the initial “mayday” call the firefighter must then provide information for his rescuers. The information needed is in the form of the acrostic LUNAR.

  • L - location (where you currently are in relation to where you started)
  • U - unit (truck/company/station that you are part of)
  • N - name (identification)
  • A - assignment (the task you were performing at the time of the incident)
  • R - resources needed (items/tools that may be necessary for your survival)

There are often times, in the life of a Christian, that we need to call a spiritual mayday. Throughout our lives we experience many anxious things, things that cause us to wring our hands in worry, and fret. We experience trials, tribulations, sadness, disappointments, death, embarrasments, dangers, economic losses, uncertainty of the future, our spiritual conditions may waver and wane. In all this, God’s Word says, “do not worry about anything”.

  • Fall- as Christians there will be times that we will stumble and fall. We will make mistakes.
  • Collapse - there will be times of burden in our Christian lives.
  • Lost/Trapped - we may become disoriented. We may lose our way, or lose track of the vision that God has for our lives.
  • Stuck- situations of life may entangle us, and drag us down.

It is in the midst of these situations that the spiritual mayday must be called! “…In everything through prayer and petition (supplication) with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

For the firefighter in the mayday situation to become anxious could mean certain death or destruction. If the firefighter was just to begin ringing his hands and “freaking” out; or to just begin running crazy, or to do nothing, he would have no chance of survival.

There are so many situations of life that can make us anxious, or worry. If we lose our heads, or continue down the road of letting this anxiety build, we will ultimately be destroyed. We see people, friends, family, neighbors, who experience this. They do not have the hope of God in their life. The worry and fret, but get nowhere. We see lives ruined, because in their anxiety, they try to do things in their own power, not “through prayer and petition”.

The first step in initiating the mayday call is to activate the EIB (emergency identifier button), which essentially closes the lines of communication to all but the endangered firefighter. The firefighter calling the mayday has an open line of communication. His call will not go unnoticed.

I am glad we have an open line of communication with our Father. When we are in these life situations we have a God, who loves and cares about us, who is always listening, who wants to come, be near us, and meet our deepest needs.

HEB. 13:5
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

ROM. 8: 35-39
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The LUNAR considerations for firefighters calling a mayday, can serve as a kind of guide, for our times of petition/supplication.

  • L - location, telling God where you are, what is going on.
  • U – unit/N - name, identifying ourselves, who we are in Christ.
  • A - assignment, telling God why you’re where you are.
  • R - resources needed, petitioning God, telling God our needs (as we see them).

Our rescue comes.

Fall- I COR. 10: 11-13
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Collapse - 1 PE. 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Lost/Trapped - PR. 29:18, JER 1:5
“Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” Pr. 29: 18

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jer. 1: 5

Stuck- HEB. 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”