Sunday, December 30, 2007

Questions I should ask myself when I turn 40...

Today is my 30th birthday so I thought that I would write myself a letter to ask myself some questions in years on my 40th birthday to remind myself of some thoughts I was having and to see if I am on the way to becoming the person I think God wants me to become.

When I turned 25, I thought I knew what I would be doing in life and where I would be at. I never thought it would be here.

  1. Am I a better husband, dad, son, brother than I was 10 years ago? Do I know my wife better and is she a better person because of me? Asking if I am a better dad is not hardly fair because I am not a dad when I turned 30.
  2. Who are the 10 or 15 people that I know about deeply? Have I spent the last 10 years investing in them in a way that will make them better, me better and the kingdom a bigger place?
  3. Is the community a better place because of me? What contributions have I made over the last 10 years? Is the rule of 150 true?
  4. On December 30, 2007 your ran for 48 minutes...can you still do that or more? If not get your fat, lazy butt off of the couch and get moving. Here and here is some help.
  5. Did you become what you hated? Are you more humble, gentle, merciful?
  6. Did you stay true to your calling? Did you act upon your belief that the world could be changed through a small group of dedicated people? Did you fight to ensure that you did what God wanted you to do not matter what others were saying?
  7. Did you fight injustice? Was there a cause somewhere that I made a difference in?
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    Now playing: Alice in Chains - I Stay Away
    via FoxyTunes

The Tipping Point

I just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell last week and it was a excellent read. this is a must read in my estimation and will require some serious thought, but thought that will be very beneficial. Here is my outline and implications from the book. (It ended up a bit longer that I would have liked.)

Intro

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”

Three Characteristics: 1) contagiousness; 2) the fact that little causes can have big effects; 3) change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment.

One: The Three Rules of Epidemics

1. The Law of the Few:

Epidemics are a function of three things: 1) the people who transmit the infectious agent 2) the infectious agent itself; 3) the environment in which the infectious agent is transmitted.

Some people matter more than others. 80% of the people will do 20% of the work; 20% of the criminals will commit 80% of the crime; 20% of the beer drinkers drink 80% of the beer; this become even more extreme in relation to epidemics—a tiny percentage of the people do a majority of the work.

2. The Stickiness Factor:

Translates into the message making an impact. It is not only a matter of getting the message out there, but getting the right people to remember your message.

3. The Power of Context:

Epidemics are impacted by their environment. This is an exponential factor and human are much more susceptible to their environment that they seem.

Implications: 1. The community should expect a minority to do a majority of the work in building the body, but that does not mean that the minority does not participate. They will need leading in specific ways.

2. It is not necessarily who you are hitting with the message,, but hitting the right people in the right way.

3. If we are effected by context in more powerful ways that we realize then it is important to provide meaningful environments for believers and pre-believers.

Two: The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen

1. Connectors –a small amount of people are connected to a large amount of people. They tend to “collect” people. It is very much ok for them to have many relationships where they rarely see that person. There is great strength in weak ties.

2. Mavens-connect people with new information. They are information specialist. They accumulate knowledge, but not in a passive way. They are passionate about sharing their new information with many different people. To be a Maven is to be a teacher.

3. Salesmen-has the skills to persuade us of what we are unconvinced of what we are hearing. Little things make a big difference in convincing a person, and a salesman knows what to do, when to say what, how to persuade and these skills can not be taught.

Three: The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and the Educational Virus

We catch much of what we don’t even pay attention to, especially if the material is in story form.

Implications: Be catchy and emanate what you believe. Tell stories about faith. Be a storyteller. And if we are not storytellers then we need to learn. Put the cookies on the bottom shelf and let the Spirit work.

Four: The Power of Context (Part One): Bernie Goetez and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime

Implications: The little things matter. Start at the beginning and be dogmatic about maintaining the start of the epidemic. You can not let it loose ground. If there is no base then there will be no epidemic.

Five: The Power of Context (Part Two): The Magic Number of One Hundred and Fifty

“Once we are part of a group, we’re all susceptible to peer pressure and social norms and any number of other kinds of influence that can play a critical role in sweeping us up in the beginnings of an epidemic.” p.171

We can care for 10 to 15 people deeply and then after that we begin to overload. The larger the group gets the more complex. Humans naturally top out in the complexity of relationship at about 150 people. After that there has to be superficial organization put in place to maintain the organization. We can have a genuine social relationship (knowing who that person is and how they relate to us) with about 150 people. A group of 150 or less is controlled by personal loyalties and direct man-to-man contact.

Implications: Should we be building smaller churches or larger churches? Should there be a max? Does it come naturally? I can ask questions about this all day and I probably need to…

Six: Case Study: Rumors, Sneakers, and the Power of Translation

People can be grouped into four groups—Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority. The important thing is that they all play off of one another and feed into each other. The Innovators assume the risk, the Early Adopters are the opinion leaders in the community who analyze what the Innovators did and relay it to the community. The Early Majority is the mass of people and the Late Majority are the skeptical who see no urgent reason for change.

“What Mavens and Connectors and Salesmen do to an idea in order ot make it contagious is to alter it in such a way that extraneous details are dropped and others are exaggerated so that the message itself comes to acquire a deeper meaning.”

Implications: Who are you in the formation of the church and who should you be; Innovator, Early Adopter, Early Majority or Late Majority?

How does this relate to the Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen?

Seven: Case Study: Suscide, Smoking, and the Unsticky Cigarette

Our peer group is the most infectious community we belong to; not our family like has so long been believed.

Implications: Where you belong matters a great deal. Cheers theme song in the back ground and think of a group yelling out "Norm!"

Eight: Conclusion: Focus, Test, and Believe

*Word of mouth epidemics begin in modesty. .

1. “Starting epidemics requires concentrating resources on a few key areas. The Law of the few says that Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen are responsible for starting word-of-mouth epidemics, which means that if you are interested in starting a word-of-mouth epidemic, your resources ought to be solely concentrated on those three groups.”

2. You have to test your intuitions. The world does not think the way we think it does.

Implications: Focus and be intentional.

What are your thoughts?

Just for YOU!

A Franciscan Benediction:

May God bless you with discomfort,
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger,
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

My God bless you with tears,
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their
pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness,
to believe that you can make a difference in this world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.

(ht Tony Jones)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

So this is Christmas?

What are we saying to the community when "we" do this? And who is this really for? Us or them.

This is great!


Ah, the power of the unexpected!

(ht marko)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reading...

I am making a list of books to read this year and I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Weinert

We just got home from a quick trip to Weinert and had a great time. (Weinert is a small town North of Abilene.) We rode with Kerre's parents and had a great ride. David, Dalia and the boys followed us on the way down.

I got to talk to Kerre's Uncle Jerry and Cousin Jeremy about farming and I learned a ton. Farmers are a unique breed that have courage and smarts.

Kerre's grandparents have two sons and seven and half (Jack) grandkids. Their entire family was there and I don;t think that has happened in many years.

So yeah for Kerre's family. I think family is important and I am glad we got to go.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sense of Humor

This really cracked me up. It is always good to think about things sin fresh ways (right?)



(ht marko)

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I am teaching about peace and I have had a bit a rough streach preping because I have not experienced much of that lately.

Anyways, I am excited though because there are going to be people there that are in need of peace and I am going to get to tell them about it and as long as I don't have t supply the "peace" we are ok.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sing Along

Last night Residing Hope hosted a Christmas sing along and it was a blast. There were people everywhere. David and Dalia's house was overflowing. I think my favorite part was the wassail made by Terry. Also read about wassail here.

There was a kitchen table that had been pushed into the corner of the kitchen so it was out of the way and where all of the goodies everyone brought could be placed. Several of the kids last night pulled up a bar stool to the table and started eating away. It seem like they thought that everyone had brought the food just for them. It was very cute.

Starbucks

I am very excited to say that I will be working at Starbucks again. I really enjoyed it the first time I worked there (before I moved to Corpus.) The problem now is that I am also going to need a real job of some sort to fill in the gaps financially.

I hope that I meet another person like Jerry there. I worked with Jerry and the Starbucks at Preston / Royal and he would argue with me about everything. I think there was a time when it was his goal to try and to get me to doubt my own existence. He was smart, thoughtful and logical and I hope that I meet another Jerry.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Breakfast

Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out. I love all of the choices. I really like to have breakfast for diner also. It makes me so happy. So, in the spirit of...um...breakfast...here is my Top 5.

5. Calico County-All you can eat cinnamon rolls and they come with butter. It is a artiery clogging prebreakfast that no one should miss.
4. Denny's-Grand Slam, the best Denny's I have every been to was in Chihuahua,Mexico.
3. I-hop-A bit expensive for breakfast, but they have an excellent choice of omelets.
2. Cracker Barrel-they give you grits when you get a normal breakfast of some sort and that makes me happy.
1. Waffle House-hash brown any way you want them, smothered, covered, what ever. We live in a wonderful country and very crunch bacon.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Away...

What an awesome time of being away with the body to talk about cell church and our role in it.

Interestingly enough our discussion seemed to center around at the heart of it all is our devotional life and apart from that....well...there is nothing. I am looking foward to seeing how God leads us in this area over the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Evening Session

Multiplying Cells

What is the most difficult challenge in multiplying cells?

  • Fear of what happen the week after.

  • Becoming comfortable in your group. Excitement never being built into the group.

  • Knowing when to multiply.

  • Planting cells is different than multiplication.

A cell is a group of 3-15 people who meet weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism and community-with he goal of making disciples that results in multiplication.

Cell Multiplication Process

  1. Leaders pray about the need.

  2. Leaders draw attention to the issue (for about 3 or 4 weeks.) [it is not a solution to a problem, but a command from you know who.]

  3. Group discusses the concept of multiplication.

  4. Groups prays for God's will regarding the future of the cell group.

  5. Leaders pray for God's access to group members.

  6. Group prays for God's deadline for multiplication.

  7. Group discusses multiplication deadline.

  8. Leader-in-training takes over all leadership responsibilities.

  9. Leader and Leader-in-training have one-on-one conservations with all group members.

  10. Group comes to unity (or not) on the details of multiplication.

  11. Group begins to “Break Out” during cell gathering.

  12. Multiplication party.

  13. A new birth.

Additional stuff:

  1. Use the analogy of a family.

  2. Have a commissioning.

RH Leadership Retreat Afternoon Session


Afternoon Session


Multiplying Believers—Evangelism is a contact / high impact
Team Sport



Cell evangelism and multiplication
pinpoint the main difference between small groups an cell groups.
Evangelism and multiplication must be the DNA of each cell.

--JoelComiskey



Evangelism must be moving a person
closer to Christ no matter where they are at. It is not necessarily
a process. It is not an event. It is smaller interactions.



Fishing with a net...working with
others in order to bring them closer to Christ. Fishing with a net
also impacts everyone else who is a relations with the prospective
followers.

In evangelism the cell leader must not
be the only one who does the evangelism; the entire group does the
evangelism.

Those who accepted his message were
baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that
day.
Acts 2:41 NIV



Practical insights that must exist in
our DNA:


  • Bring another person into the
    relationship before they come to the group


  • We must celebrate small victories


  • Can I help you in any of your
    relationships?


  • Accountability and flexibility in
    our relationships




There is a difference between
walking the path and knowing the path.
--The Matrix



Six Keys for effective cell evangelism


  1. Prioritize cell evangelism: don't
    expect it will just happen


  2. Celebrate the little victories:
    don't compare yourself with worldwide cell churches


  3. Promote supernatural cell group
    evangelism: don't depend too heavily on techniques


  4. Emphasize group evangelism: don't
    allow the the cell leader to carry the entire burden


  5. Exemplify building relationships
    with non-Christians: don't expect that your people will befriend
    sinners


  6. Keep on pressing on: don't be
    weary in well-doing




Multiplying Churches


Lindsey Cofield



Be faithful to what God has called you
to early in life. Pour you life into others. Cell churches are
leader breeders (Timothy.)



God seems to be telling us that the
most import thing is about non-tradition church is leader development
(Timothy.)



Romans 16:3-5


  1. How did they make a living?


  2. Where did the church meet?


  3. Who was probably the pastor?


  4. How big did it get?


  5. How long did it last?


  6. How much good did it accomplish?


  7. How much did it cost financially?





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RH Leadership Retreat Morning Session

December 8, 2007

Multiplying Leaders and Disciples

Who took a chance on you? (as a leader)

A [chance] is the ability to fail and it effects other people.

What is your biggest obstacle in multiplying leaders...

  • ability to train and teach

  • trust

  • desire to be perfectionist

  • time in relationships, they have to do it or they won't learn

  • overcome their fears and anxieties as a leader

  • setting appropriate expectations

  • disorganization, changing the process as you go along, not
    being planned out

Matt 28:19-20

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The verb in this verse is make disciples...we are to “make.” The goal of discipleship is to reproduce yourself. Cell church isleader breeder. The test is when the follower is able to “make”
disciples; i.e when Calvin cloned himself.

How can cells breed leaders...
  • responsibilities for the group

  • look at them from the beginning as leaders...notice where

  • their gifts are at and what they are good at. What is natural.

  • the leaders number one job is to develop the next leader. The focus is no the cell, but leadership development and develop their relationship with Christ.

  • Being creative in what our cells exercise...it is about more than the weekly meet, but also where it members are bent, whether that is serving, healing, etc.

    Principles of Leadership Development (Comiskey)

It all flows out of the personal relationship with Christ.

Principle #1: Keep the training track simple.

Principle #2: Provide action steps with the training

Principle #3: Prepare a second level of training for small
group leadership

Principle #4: Use only one equipping track

Principle #5: There is no one methodology for implementing your
training

Principle #6: Train everyone to become a cell leader

Principle #7: Continually adjust and improve the training

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Residing Hope Leadership Retreat


Last night began the annual RH
(Residing Hope) leadership retreat in Las Collinas at the Staybridge.
We began the retreat with a time of prayer that was directed toward
Jesus being the center of all that we do, in cell ministry and in
life. We briefly spoke about how cell ministry start with our
personal relationship with Christ and everything flows out of that.


The second thing we talked about is
that getting people who are far from God to come to a cell is group
is not the goal
; the goal is getting them to move closer to Christ.
The paradox in this is that the cell serves as the body of Christ.
That is where people who are far from God get to encounter the hands
and feet of Christ, so it is important that they experience the cell
group, but it is not the goal, it is nt the measurement by which we
measure or success.


The final thing we spoke about and
turned into a issue of prayer is that it is God who produces the
ministry
that we have been called to. It is God who empowers the
cells, converts sinners and brings members into cell leadership (Joel
Comiskey.)

It is good to be back with this group of leaders.
I am grateful for them all in very different ways. I try to verbalize
it here but I defiantly did not catch the entirety of what I was
thinking.


  • Terry- for leading out and
    taking risk, charting new territory and sharing that with those
    around him.


  • Beth-her motherliness.


  • Jonathan-his
    logical/systematic way of looking at issues that always bring us
    back to basic and core principle. He is always thinking about how
    our conservation effects the vision of the Church (universal.)


  • Sandi-her quite
    encouragement to keep pressing forward.


  • David-his creativity in
    looking at situation.


  • Dalia-her concern for
    others.


  • Kerre-her genuineness.








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Friday, December 07, 2007

Big D!


We are settling in here in Dallas (or Plano to be more specific.) God provided during this transition...one of the easiest I have had, but a lot of people worked hard on our account. My dad drove in from Amarillo (11 hours), Nathan Payne, Mark Mills and his brother Carl packed our truck, Kerre's parents, Terry and Beth helped with getting the house cleaned up.

Our house is on the market in Corpus, so if you know anyone who needs a good little house get a hold of me....

We are staying with Jonathan and Sandi Tindal. We went to school together at DTS and the picture is of their two kids, Joelle and P.J. Staying with a couple that shares our values has really been an encouragement and support this past week, which has been fairly traumatic.

Kerre is doing good, she has been a bit tired this week so I think the baby is about to hit a growth spurt.

This weekend holds much promise....

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Now playing: Badly Drawn Boy - Something to Talk About
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Take the poll!

Take the poll on the left and tell us what you think...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It is about the heart...

Last night at cell group we talked about Amos 5:21-27 and how that relates to this time of year. There are plenty of things to do this time of year, but why do we do them? Mostly for us, I think. This year, during my holiday time, I want it to be about others and not myself and not what I want to do. I want to be in a place where I can be useful to others and that is ultimately about my heart.

Andrew had a great icebreaker also, "If you were on a game show, which one would it be?" My Answer: Press Your Luck


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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

B is for...

Well apparently "B" Stands for boy around here.

Kerre and I went to the doctor yesterday and had the half way sonogram and all of that good stuff. It was a lot of fun.

Click on the pictures and it will take you to my Picassa account and you should be able to leave comments and download the pictures.

Parents reactions have been great. My parents are elated that it is a boy. This is the first baby on my mom's side of the family in 18 years. I am a bit releaved because if it was a girl it would have forever had my dad wrapped around her finger, and that would have been instant spoilage.

Kerre's parents are also very exited. This will be their 4th male grandchild. They don't have any girls. :( With so many boys around I think they are thinking of moving into a rubber house.

Well, we are on our way to being parents...


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turkey Day

Today's is Residings Hope's Turkey Day. It is BYOT (Bring Your Own Turkey) and we will fry it up. Right now, there are 13 scheduled turkeys to cook. By the end of the day I think I will be fat!




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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back in Big D...

We are back in Dallas and here until next Tuesday or so...We have Thanksgiving with Residing Hope on this Sunday and I am pumped. It is a bring your own Turkey get together. You bring the turkey and we fry it.

This Monday we find out what the baby is, boy or girl I mean. That is exciting also.

We get an email every week that talks about how the baby is growing and stuff and I think the author of that email is making some kind of weird salad--so far the baby has been as big as a lime, avacado, bell pepper, and heirloom tomato.



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Now playing: Bebo Norman - I'm Alright
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sleep...

Last night was a dreadful night of waking up at 4 am and not being able to go back to sleep because I can get my brain to stop thinking about things it doesn't need to be thinking about when it should be sleeping. ugh...

What do you do when that happens, none of my methods worked until around 6:30 and then it was time to get up.

Hamlet: "To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there's the rub."


Monday, November 12, 2007

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.--Brendan Gill

Here puppy...




I miss my dog and I can't wait to see her again. I bet Joelle taught her a new trick! I am thankful for J.T. and Sandi watching her while we are gone. I know she is loving playing with Tori.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The value of fun



I have been plowing through the book Truman by David McCullough. I am about half done and to the place where Truman, Stalin and Churchill are at the last of the Big Three Conferences. The weight of the world is heavy upon these leaders. While deciding what the post war world will look like, Truman is faced with the decision of wether to use the Atomic Bomb on Japan or not.

To say the least things in the world were rough.

The author made a point though that the leaders of the world each hosted a party during the conference and how much each of the leaders enjoyed it and how it helped them get to know one another, which was some of what their basis of trust was formed upon.

The Churches work is just as important, should we not also have fun together in order to furthur the future of the Kingdom. I believe that play must be done in the middle of the work if we are to be successful.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I saw...


the boys for th first time in awhile. Man they are getting big. It always surprises me how smart and well mannered. They are so great!

Joe and P.J. also came over to Mamo's and Dado's today. They have sweet heart and spirit. I have missed seeing those kidos on a regular basis. That is one thing I am praying for to come out of this mess, regular time with my family.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I believe that the Church should be...

  • relational...the connect with the community happens primarily with relationships
  • missional...about making a difference in the community it resides in, weather that be viewed in a local sense or a worldly sense
  • innovation...always pushing on toward what god has next and able to adapt quickly to that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Out and about?


When I am out and about with my dog Indee Anna, how does she find the mud so fast? Out of the truck and straight to the mud. Then she muds up and wants to get back in the truck...ugh...

So we get home put her in the shower, which she like and then there is a wet dog running around the house.


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Now playing: Collective Soul - Simple
via FoxyTunes

Opening of Hillsong Confrence 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Summary of MME Discussion

Here is a summary of what impacted me during discussion at the MME today:
  • As student pastor, it is my job to FOCUS on the big picture and not on the fires
  • I must have long term goals(5 years)
  • Goals / vision for all of the ministry, it drives everything.
  • "YM is filled with long, tiring, often unrewarding, complex, unique, intense, humorous, joy filled, and painful experiences."
  • Failure comes from inadequate preparation and unrealistic expectations.
From Top 10 YM commitments:
  • "I will move slowly." Ability to move slowly is from vision and long term goals. It makes it possible. Try working the calendar backward. Have a checkpoint mentality. I am in in it for the long haul, so what is the hurry.
  • "I willl steer clear of the numbers game." I will not feed others appetites for numbers by making number statements. Instead I will tell life-changing stories, use words like health, communicate forward thinking and train other leaders to be concerned with health rather than numbers.
  • "I will avoid the comparison trap." I will not compare myself and I will not allow myself to be compared to others. There is no way to win the game. I will be prideful or I will be dejected. It is not fair. My value comes from God's unconditional love.
  • "I will focus on priorities." How do I set and pick my priorities?
  • "I will serve." ...outside of the church. I think it will be healither for me to serve away from the community in some way rather than thinking the "little things" I do areound the church is my "serving." I have not felt healthy doing that lately and I need to try something else.
  • "I will pursue contentment." I will be content with MY situation. God give me grace to pull this off.
I really got a lot out of the discussion today and felt fill and like I had though deeply about ministry. That is a good feeling...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: Where do I Start?

I just started reading, "Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry" and wanted to sum it up chapter by chapter here...I am reading through this book with some other Youth Pastors here in town. It is part of a pilot program we are testing out for Darren. I am very excited about it!

  • YM is a very long race and to be successful, it takes a certain amount of discipline much like running a marathon.
  • Quick departure in YM often come from inadequate preperation and unrealistic expectations.
  • God did not give the Israelites all of the Promised Land in one day. It came over time. I should expect this in YM.
Verses to keep in mind:
  • And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:2b)
  • But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land. (Exodus 23:29-30)
10 YM Commitments:
  1. I will move Slowly.
  2. I will regularly check my motives and evaluate my heart. (This has been tough for me lately and I just realized it yesterday. Man, am I a butt sometimes!)
  3. I will steer clear of the numbers game.
  4. I will not criticize the past.
  5. I will avoid the comparison trap.
  6. I will focus on priorities. (Oh look, a cloud!)
  7. I will pace myself.
  8. I will serve. "If you can't serve, you can't lead, at least not as Christ intended."
  9. I will be a learner. "All leaders are learners. When a leader stops learning, the leader stops leading."
  10. I will peruse contentment.