Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's Quote

"Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use." — Earl Nightingale

Does this bother you? Comment below.

Top 5 Deadly Sins of Leaders

1. Arrogance and insensitivity to others - Whether it’s yelling, screaming, and berating, or a more subtle approach to letting everyone else don’t they don’t matter, everybody can’t stand an arrogant jerk.

2. Not listening - Not listening is another way of displaying arrogance and insensitivity, even if you don’t mean to be.

3. Manipulative - Getting things done by manipulating people shows a lack of authenticity and keeps people guessing what your true intentions are. It fosters a lack of trust.

4. Lack of integrity - Lying, cheating, fibbing, blaming others for your mistakes – it only takes one mistake to ruin a reputation for life.

5. Selfishness - A "me first" approach, inability to collaborate or build a team, and unwillingness to collaborate.

Leaders of these sins seldom know it. They always deny them. They will read this and say, "Right on. I know people who should read this." The only way to know if one is guilty is to actually listen to others, maybe even someone we do not like.

If you've ever been told you display any of these traits, then do yourself and everyone around you a big favor – get some help!

Unfortunately, a lot of very "successful" and experienced leaders shrewdly use these very same characteristics to their advantage. You can achieve short-term success by lying, cheating, and abusing your power. However, at some point, it’s going to catch up to you. In the meantime, you’ll end up "lookin" like a fool.

[from Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy]

Legal Answers - Church and Super Bowl

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pastor Ed Young says Washington is Broken

The Rev. Dr. Ed Young of Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, brought politics to the pulpit this past weekend as he preached on what he calls "a broken Washington."

"Far too long we have been in a valley, a deep, dark valley that's been brought on by the indifference and lethargy of the people and by those who are willing to exploit us on so many levels at the highest realm of government – city, state and national," he said.

His sermon is part of a series on "Healing Broken America." When viewing America today, Young sees what was recorded in the early days of biblical history – that is, a broken Jerusalem.

"We either learn from history or we repeat history," he told thousands at the multi-site church. America is on the latter path, he indicated.

Just as King Solomon from the Old Testament began as a faithful believer and later turned away from God and became an idolater, Young sees many in Washington, D.C., doing the same, placing God on a shelf and making everything of the world an idol.

"Our government is trying to make us into a secular God-free society," he said. "Our government should be secular. I'm not for theocracy. But secular government is ... taking God out of every area of our life."

Moreover, Washington is not listening to the people, Young asserted on Second Baptist's large stage.

Though the majority of Americans claim belief in God, "the courts and much of our legislatures are doing everything for us to be politically correct and to get God out of everything in our life," he noted.

"Washington is not only not listening but they're exercising poor discernment," Young said, alluding to the unstable economy and the current health care reform legislation.

He charged members of Congress of governing by fear and bribery, noting that a number of senators changed their mind to support the health care bill after some "back room" conversations.

Government, Pastor Young told Second Baptist congregants, is getting bigger and bigger with every administration.

The solution, he said, is to go back to the worldview, namely a biblical worldview, from which documents like the Constitution were drawn up – documents that clearly state that the power is primarily vested in the people.

"It looks like this: creation (we were created in the image of God; I am special); fall (all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God); and redemption (the answer; salvation)," he explained.

"This is the grid upon which we have to operate. It's the grid upon which our Constitution was drawn up. ... It is the worldview that must be reactivated – a concept of the dignity of man."

Second Baptist Church claims a membership of over 53,000 with campuses in five different locations.

[By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Update - 1/16/10

We have finally made direct contact with the orphanage and people of Haiti. Last night at about midnight Ben Feliz (who I serve with on the Administrative Committee) received a call from Bishop Flavio Rosario, who was able to meet with Bishop Dorlean. Brother Rosario and his team spent the night with Bishop Dorlean in a church member's house that was not damaged.

Bishop Rosario's team was able to bring food and water to feed the children of the orphanage for a few days. We are currently coordinating a team of full size trucks that will be getting to the people in Haiti with food, water, tents, sheets , blankets, tooth paste, etc.

Bishop Dorlean could not express with words his graititude this act of Christian solidarity. We assured him that we are praying with them in this dark hour and that we are making many efforts to show Christian love to our brothers and sisters of Haiti.

We expect to receive a report from Bishop Flavio Rosario today that will update and prioritize the needs that the people have on the ground.

We are coordinating with Bishop Quiterio Rosario in the Dominincan Republic who will go back to Haiti with a full size truck containing food, water, sheets, supplies, blankets and some tents since the children are staying out in soccer field. Bishop Rosario is heading for Santo Domingo to return to Haiti with help as soon as possible.

Isn't it wonderful how the family of God works in times like these?!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Church Security

In 2009, there were at least 1,237 crimes against Christian churches and ministries in the United States, according to a report released earlier this month by the Christian Security Network. The 2009 "Crimes Against Christian Organizations in the United States" included 12 homicides and 38 other violent incidents — with three sexual assaults and three kidnappings — 98 arsons and over 700 burglaries. Burglaries resulted in an estimated $12 million in property loss.

Even though the FBI has established Hate Crimes statistics in its agency reporting, very few crimes against churches and Christian organizations are classified as hate crimes because it is difficult to determine the motive for the crime, the report explains.

What makes it even more difficult in determining the number of such crimes is the fact that many of them go unreported. Churches and ministries, for various reasons — including forgiveness of the offender to fear of bad publicity — do not always report crimes. Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network, said that crime rates "are likely much higher than contained in the report, conservatively five to six times higher."

CSN approaches the collection of data in a conservative manner, only counting criminal incidents where the church or ministry building, staff, volunteers or guests were the actual target or victim. It does not, for instance, count a death on church property if the church was closed at the time or if the death had no connection to the church (e.g., natural causes).

Just two weeks into 2010, officials in east Texas are already investigating five arson-suspected church fires — three in one town and two in one night. Experts and officials alike warn churches to take every possible precautionary step to provide a safe environment and security for anyone who will be on church grounds.

[ChristianPost.com, CBSNews.com]

Pictures Coming Out of Haiti


[Click on image to enlarge it.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Contact Has Been Made With Haiti Orphanage

We have received a report from the orphanage in Haiti.

Five of the children have died, along with two employees. Four more children remain buried under the rubble.

Please continue to prayer for this nation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti People Before the Earthquake

This is a video recorded by Gabriel Vidal in Haiti in July 2008 of the Church of God of Prophecy orphanage.

Look at the faces.

No one has been able to reach any of them since the earthquake. Their condition is unknown.

Please pray for all of them.

CLICK HERE to download more info in PDF.

Haiti Disaster

"As you may know, the Church of God of Prophecy has a significant presence in Haiti, with about 58,000 members, many of them in the Port au Prince area, in addition to the orphanage which houses almost 70 children about an hour from the capital. Since the earthquake hit, we have not been able to reach Bishop Dorlean, our national overseer. We are continuing to try to make contact and will keep in touch through Facebook, the International Office website (www.cogop.org) and the E-newsletter, Connections.

"Although our information is limited right now, we know the needs are astronomical. The website has information on how you can begin to give."

http://www.cogop.org/

David Bryan
Missions Director
Church of God of Prophecy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Your Church Needs a Written Vision

In 1833, an employee at the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., wrote the following letter:

Dear Sir:

Because everything that can be invented has already been invented, it is inevitable that this office should go out of business. Inasmuch as I shall soon lose my position, I hereby resign to look for work elsewhere.

Sincerely,


Up to that point, less than 500 patents had been applied for in the United States; but by the time World War I was over, more than 60,000 patents had been issued. Today the number runs in the millions.

We read this person's letter and think, How shortsighted. How could someone possibly believe that all that could be invented had already been invented?

Whoever wrote that letter clearly lacked vision.

VISION: BUZZWORD OR CRUCIAL LEADERSHIP TOOL?

Vision is a buzzword in church leadership today. Who worth their ordination hasn't seen, read, or heard something about vision? What pastor hasn't wondered, What if my overseer asks me if I've got one of those things for my church?

But vision is more than a buzzword; it has become a necessary tool of every pastor—no matter what the location, size, or age of his or her church.

Vision is not what we dream about during a Sunday afternoon nap or after eating spicy chili after 10 p.m. It is rarely a "burning bush" experience like Moses'. When pastors look for a vision for their church through these methods, they run a real chance of shipwrecking their church's future.

Vision, as modeled in Scripture and throughout church history, came as God's people saw the needs around them and then sought God for what He wanted them to do. Moses' leading the people of Israel out of Egypt, David's fighting Goliath, Nehemiah's rebuilding the temple wall, Jesus' calling His disciples, Paul's writing to the church in Corinth—these and other stories in Scripture indicate the vision of these leaders. They saw in their mind a future that was preferred more than the present. And their vision propelled them forward to do courageous things.

WHY MUST YOUR CHURCH HAVE AN ARTICULATED VISION?

Here are four reasons why your church will be strengthened by contemplating its future.

1. Vision gets you on God's program and off your own.

God already has a plan for every church. He is not confused about where your church should go in the next 5 years. The problem comes when you don't take time to seek Him and discover His plan. Most pastors and church members are too busy maintaining their lives and church work. Prayer is often the first "extra" to go. Yet it is a vital component in discovering vision. In Jeremiah 33:3, the Lord said, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." 1

Prayer alone is not enough, though. It also takes work on our part. James 2:26 states that "faith without deeds is dead." As Christian leaders, we are in constant tension on these two points. It is our responsibility to let God reveal His future to us and to see the future as God sees it. A church that fails to listen for God's vision will not experience all that God has planned for it. We have a tendency to let the budget process, a crisis, or a pastoral change drive our plans when, in fact, God wants to reveal a future that will excite and challenge us. But this takes prayerful listening and work.

2. Vision helps our dreams become bigger than our memories.

Churches fail to reach their full potential because their memories are bigger than their dreams. They spend more energy recalling and celebrating the past than on contemplating the future. The church may also be holding on to old ways of doing church that are no longer effective. Or the church keeps having revivals, hoping to instill new life into the church. But after each revival, people go back to the same old patterns.

John R.W. Stott, an English theologian, states, "Vision begins with a holy discontent with the way things are." It is possible to become so content with our church that we become complacent. We are busy building homes, families, and careers, while trying to live in a chaotic, change-filled world. Sometimes the last thing church members want to see changed is their church. They like the stability of church being the same week after week. Unfortunately, that sameness can breed complacency and weak ministry.

Discouragement may set in, even bitterness. And the lighthouse God called into existence only emits a weak light. But with a vision, the future begins to grow and become clear and larger than the past and present. Discouragement and complacency are replaced with hope.

3. Vision gives your church a target.

Aubrey Malphurs, in his book, Planting Growing Churches for the Twenty-first Century writes, "People can't focus on fog! As someone once said, 'If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!' " He further states, "[Vision] is the ministry compass that helps a congregation and the leaders navigate through the ocean of decision." 2

All organizations fit into two categories: Those with vision have a sense of direction and destiny; those without vision seem lost and befuddled. A church that develops a vision puts a compass in the hands of its people. Instead of the pastor pulling and pushing, the people have a common sense of destiny.

4. Vision gets people in the game.

What church does not need more laypeople actively involved, using their gifts and energies to advance God's kingdom in their community? There are many reasons why laypeople do not become involved in church work. One of those reasons is lack of vision.

With a clear and compelling vision that laymembers help shape, a church is better positioned to invite laypeople into the challenges and excitement of Kingdom work. Without it, it's just one more class to teach, room to clean, or meeting to attend.

WE NEED A PROCESS TO HELP US DEVELOP VISION

Scripture says that without vision people perish. Each one of us dies a little when we don't have our eyes on the future. But for most pastors and church leaders, there aren't enough hours in the day to focus on the future. The present is in our face, and we need a way to lift our eyes from the present to the future so our dreams become bigger than our present experience and memories. That takes a process. The best vision comes out of a process of prayer and the dialogue between a cross-section of church leaders, led by the pastor.

Discover or reaffirm the vision God has for you. This process will involve many people in your church. Why? God has implanted in the minds and hearts of your committed members a vision for your church. You need a process to help your church hear what God is saying to key lay leaders and to release their visions and blend them with the visions of other churches.

You might ask, "Why involve lay leaders? Isn't it my job as pastor to develop the vision?" As a culture, we are no longer comfortable with a top-down style of leadership. We resist leaders with a command-and-control style; we want to participate in the decisions that affect the future of the organization. The church is not immune to this cultural shift. In past decades, church laity were often content to participate in the direction of the church through an annual business meeting. But today, more and more people want to have a voice in the direction of their church.
Pastors can be lulled into thinking this isn't true about their church when members seem apathetic about the church's future or attendance is poor at meetings called to discuss an important decision facing the church. When people don't show interest, it is often because they feel they have no voice or influence. Trust must be regained by offering a participatory process—one that allows people to speak.

The pastor has the lead vision-development role, but involving others is key to their ownership of the vision. Without participation, the pastor is forced into selling his or her vision to the congregation.


ENDNOTES
1.Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
2.Aubrey Malphurs, in his book, Planting Growing Churches for the Twenty-first Century (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 234.

[By J. David Schmidt, president of J. David Schmidt Associates, a management consulting firm working with churches.]

Saturday, January 9, 2010

4 Reasons Pastors Should Make More Money

1. To Decrease Stress

Ministry is always ranked as one of the most stressful jobs. The last thing a pastor needs to be thinking about is how they are going to pay their personal bills or be able to afford a family vacation. IF YOU ARE BAD WITH YOUR MONEY, YOU DON’T NEED MORE MONEY! However, a lot of the ministry leaders I work with really make below what it takes to run a family financially. Church planters, you need to pay yourself first before you hire a bunch of staff! Don’t make your spouse bitter!

2. To Allow The Spouse To Stay Home

If the ministry leader is the "bread winner" in the home they should make enough to allow the spouse to stay home if they want to. I have seen too many spouses angry because they have to work so their spouse can be in ministry.

3. To Live Culturally Relevant Lives

If the pastor constantly is saying NO to stuff because he can’t afford to go to a ball game or send his kid to a camp, that is ridiculous. I am not saying the pastor should have to drive the nicest car and have all the toys, but if the pastor does want to buy a new car or have a toy, they should be able to do it!

4. To Eliminate The Poor-Mouth Mentality

It is very tempting for pastors to poor-mouth around their people. I hear pastors poor-mouth in messages sometime as well. I don’t think it should be a goal of pastors to come across as being broke all the time. A broke mentality leads to a broke church. Pay the pastor a fare wage to eliminate poor-mouthing.

What would you add or take away from this list? Do you agree or disagree?

[by Casey Graham, http://beancreator.com/]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pastor, Don't Miss This Conference

There are a lot of conferences out there for pastors. This one, you will not want to miss. The cost is reasonable and the resources are outstanding.

Click: http://www.synergize.tv/

Sharing Our Faith Can Be Controversial

Brit Hume has aroused the ire of some secularists as well as some Buddhists by advising Tiger Woods to seek redemption through Christianity in place of his mother's religion of Buddhism. Said Mr. Hume about Mr. Woods, "He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn your faith — turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

Almost immediately, the far left began mocking Hume as a religious fanatic. Some of the comments directed at him were as hateful as anything directed towards Tiger Woods.

So, let's look at what happened. According to the Buddhist journalist Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien, Hume is correct about Buddhism. That faith does not offer forgiveness and redemption the way Christianity does. That's because Buddhism has no concept of sin.

Brit Hume was asked if he was proselytizing, as he is a devout Christian. He said no, and put forth he was just giving Mr. Woods some advice he might consider. So, why are people like Washington Post critic Tom Shales and TV's Jon Stewart going after him?

The answer, I believe, lies in the explosive nature of right and wrong, good and evil — also, the unease some Americans feel when a religious conviction they don't hold is displayed before them.

Brit Hume has a perfect right to espouse what he believes is a healing tonic. The forgiveness Christianity offers has helped millions of human beings throughout history. The world would be a better place if every person on earth understood the basic philosophy of Jesus. Mr. Hume was simply exercising his free speech rights and the fact he is paid well to do that speaks to his intellect and insight.

Anti-religious sentiment is currently chic in America. You can see it displayed in the media almost everyday. Brit Hume sent some advice to Tiger Woods. He did so meaning well. Mr. Woods is free to take it or leave it. There was no harm in this.

[By Bill O'Reilly for BillOReilly.com]

A Word for Pastors

With the New Year now a week old, how are you doing? Now, let me ask, what are you doing?

As I begin 2010, I have been asking myself, "What can I do better this year than I did last year?" Allow me to give you a little self-examination exercise:

1. Have you determined to get more physical activity this year than last? Just 20 minutes a day, four days a week, will do wonders for you.

2. Will you do anything about your eating habits? You really do not need to "crash diet" — but simply stay away from overeating sweets, starches, bread and red meat. Just "push away."

3. Have you thought of ways you might be able to adjust your schedule for greater productivity? Pastors have told me lately that making the most of the mornings gives them the greatest advantage. From wake-up through lunch can be your most effective hours.

4. How well do you communicate? I really need to work on this one. "Say what you mean and mean what you say" is a very good credo. Try very hard not to leave people guessing.

5. Put some excitement in your life. Are you in a rut? Do you have variety in your day-to-day routine? There should be. Every day, if possible, you need to experience something new.

6. Quality time: I could really make all of us feel guilty on this one, but are you giving your family the attention they need? If not, schedule them in. Are you spending precious moments with your Lord? Same time, same place, on a regular basis is the very best practice. Give quality time to these two areas and you will reap great dividends.

Well, I just shared with you some gentle suggestions as we come to the close of the first week of the new decade. How are you doing so far? What can you do better? "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

[By H. B. London]

Monday, January 4, 2010

President Appoints Transgendered Woman/Man to Federal Post

Amanda Simpson, a former test pilot for Raytheon, has been named to the Bureau of Industry and Security as Senior Technical Advisor by President Barack Obama. Simpson, who now identifies as a female, was nominated by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).

In a news release from NCTE, Simpson expressed hope to "soon be one of hundreds (of transgender presidential appointees)."

"Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration?" asked Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth. "How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go? Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby."

According to most estimates, "transgender" individuals account for less than a fraction of 1 percent of the population. Yet, LaBarbera said, they have convinced the Obama administration to affirm their position that gender is fluid and changeable.

"We should consider what transgender activism is about," he said," which is essentially recognizing civil rights based on gender confusion."

Matt Barber, associate dean at Liberty University, said the appointment "boggles the mind."

"This isn't like appointing an African-American in order to try to provide diversity and right some kind of discriminatory wrong," he said. "This is about political correctness.

"President Obama, before he was inaugurated, told the world that he had signed off on every single demand of the homosexual-activist lobby."

LaBarbera said it's just another way to normalize homosexuality and transgenderism.

"It's always the incremental change that keeps moving forward and keeps getting more radical," he said. "It's hard for the American people to keep up."

[Based on an article by Kim Trobee]

Changing Themes

J. David Schmidt is a church consultant and President of J. David Schmidt and Associates. From his vantage point of working with many hundreds of churches all across the United States and the world he notes some emerging and waning themes in organizational life. We are living in a time of transition.

Change and transition is not limited to the coasts. Television, movies, music, the Internet and cell phones are shrinking our world. What once started on the coasts took 5-7 years to spread to the mid-section of our country. Today it takes 5-7 months if not 5-7 weeks!

Organizations and institutions, including churches, are immersed in a rapidly changing culture that will either reshape them or render them obsolete. While holding to the Truth of the Word of God we must adjust how we relate, communicate, work together, and organize ourselves.

What follows is one listing of changing themes for organizations in the new millennium. Much of this material is applicable to our churches as we seek to be relevant for a new day and a new century. This list could generate a healthy and helpful discussion with your Board, Leadership Team or Staff.

WANING THEMES ----------- EMERGING THEMES

Top-Down Decision Making -- Shared Decision Making

Traditional Approaches -- Entrepreneurial Approaches

Empire Builders -- Kingdom Builders

"Come Join Us" -- "How Can We Serve You"

"Trust Us" -- Prove Your Integrity

"We Have Our Way of Doing Things" -- Multiple Options To Expand The Kingdom

Male-Only Leadership -- Male/Female Leadership

"We Have a Process to Follow" -- Flexibility, Speed And Agility In Making Decisions

"We Know How to Do This" -- On-Going Learning

"We Have a Heritage to Honor" -- Stable At The Core, Fluid Around The Edges

"We Can’t Do That" -- Shockingly High Level of Customer Service

"Let’s Build Consensus" -- Value-Driven, Visionary Leadership

Sharon Daugherty to Lead Victory Christian Center

The widow of the Rev. Billy Joe Daugherty has been elected president of the Victory Christian Center Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Rev. Sharon Daugherty had worked as co-pastor with her late husband to build one of Tulsa's largest churches. Billy Joe Daugherty died of cancer in November.

In addition to pastoring the 17,000-member church, Sharon Daugherty will oversee Victory Christian School and International Victory Bible Institute, with 911 campuses in 93 countries.

She also will oversee Victory World Missions Training Center and the Tulsa Dream Center, which provides food and clothing and medical, educational and recreational services to north Tulsans.

One Nation Under God

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Prepare to Win in 2010

If you believe in your vision, keep doing it until you see results. Every desire, every plan, every bit of knowledge is useless unless followed by action. The Bible states in 2 Peter 1:5 that we are to take the promises of God and add our diligence. To be a diligent person means to keep doing what is right over and over until you get the desired result. It means that you never give up and never quit. Diligence is vitally necessary in order to have a prosperous life.

It is essential that you establish clearly defined goals and a mission for your organization. Once your goals are formulated, you need to light the desire and build it strong in your mind. Visualize your goals strongly and clearly every day. Be positive about your vision and you will attract others To your mission. Have faith in yourself. Faith is the basis of all miracles and the basis for all success. Get specialized knowledge, seek counseling if necessary. While motivation is essential to begin the path to success, only persistence will keep you on the path.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Boy Shot and Killed at Church

[Decatur, GA] A 4-year-old boy, Marquel Peters, was shot and killed while in church at the Church of God of Prophecy, apparently by New Year’s Eve revelers. The circumstances that led to young Marquel Peters’ death are not uncommon on New Year’s Eve.

The boy, playing with a video game, and his mother were waiting for a 12:30 a.m. concert to begin at Church of God of Prophecy near Decatur when Marquel was shot in the head by a stray bullet. Marquel was on the floor, crying and bleeding, when medics arrived, but he died later at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

The child’s family has called for the person who fired the shot to come forward, but officials said it’s unlikely that person even knows what happened. And police are unlikely to find the shooter unless the bullet is traced to a gun recovered in another investigation.

Investigators discovered Friday the bullet had passed through the roof of the church. It’s not uncommon – though illegal -- for guns to be fired to mark the start of a new year.

Please be in prayer for this family.

Friday, January 1, 2010