A Church That’s Not Afraid To Talk About Racism In America

racism panel

This past weekend, my church (First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Arkansas) hosted a panel discussion on one of the hot button issues of our day: RACISM. What followed was an hour filled with open conversation, shocking statements, raw feelings, surprising confessions – ALL done with the most incredible grace, mercy, and love that only followers of Christ can do.

If you think anyone chose to shy from the difficult facts, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Sit down, watch, and prepare to be challenged and encouraged.  God is at work in HIS Church!

Watch the entire video here:

video - racism panel

 

Too Many Pastors Are Overweight

Pastors Overweight

I figured that headline would get your attention.  But, sadly it is true.  Certainly not all, but an overwhelming majority (76%) of pastors (male and female) answered a recent poll that they would call themselves “obese.”  In addition, many of them don’t feel confident behind the pulpit, don’t feel attractive to their spouse, aren’t taking a day off, have trouble sleeping, are lacking exercise regularly, and have minimal know-how to fueling their bodies.

I can certainly say that not too long ago – I was in the same boat.  I finally came to the realization that change was never going to happen to me – I had to MAKE change happen.  With God’s help, I was able to make some drastic changes in my life, exercise and eating habits.  This past year, I lost nearly 20 pounds and completed my first 26.2 mile marathon.

For those of you that say, “I just don’t know where to start!”  I totally understand.  I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Ricky Van Pay.  He is a personal fitness coach and chaplain that launched fitpastors.com to specifically help pastors achieve their health and fitness goals.

I highly recommend you check it out!  Ricky has a coaching huddle starting in January designed to a LIMITED number (only 100) of pastors and ministers.  To check it out CLICK HERE!

I know that many of you are planning to get in shape in 2015.  I am believing that you WILL achieve your health and fitness goals so that you can build a sustainable life pace and be effective long-term for the Kingdom.  If you want a coach, Ricky and fitpastors.com may very well be a good fit for you.

How To Kill An Invisible Gorilla

gorilla

OK, now before the folks at PETA start picketing my blog – let me explain.

Ever heard the expression “monkey on my back”?  It refers to a problem or irritation that just won’t seem to go away.  A looming deadline, a staffing issue, a recurring problem.  These “monkeys” can be irritating.

However, I am not talking about those little “monkeys” in this blog.  Have you ever woke up with such heaviness, such a weight bearing down on you it’s like a 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  You know that you have something huge to face today – a huge interview, a confrontational conversation, a major report or writing project.  It is such a BIG DEAL that you almost have to give yourself a pep talk just to get out of bed and face the day.

Those “invisible gorillas” can steal your joy, distract your thinking, and zap your motivation.  The obvious answer to kill this gorilla is prayer.  When I hit my knees and “cast my cares upon Him” (Psalm 55:22), I feel that load lift.  God will take the weight of that “invisible gorilla” and replace it with His comfort and peace.  After all, Jesus promised us “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Another secret weapon I have for killing those “invisible gorillas” is music.  There’s something liberating and joyous about music that gets me fired up.  I have one song in particular that has been a “gorilla killer” for many years.  It is Donnie McClurkin’s “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” (click on the link to find it i-Tunes).  Although I am definitely a ROCKER at heart, this black gospel song just gets me revved up – and the invisible gorilla just disappears as I remember that God is in control!!!

What about you?  What do you do to kill the invisible 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  What song do you play that just instantly changes the mood and gets you motivated to slay the gorilla?  Share your comments below.

Do You Struggle Getting Volunteers For Your Ministry?

volunteer-breakthrough
Do you struggle getting volunteers for your ministry?  If you do, you are NOT alone!  Survey after survey tells us that recruiting and keeping volunteers is one of the biggest struggles for EVERY Kids Ministry Leader.  Well, I have an incredible opportunity for you that will help change that statistic.

My friend, Ryan Frank, was a Children’s Pastor for 15 years and is currently the CEO/Publisher at KidzMatter.  He has created a FREE 4-part video series on how to recruit and keep amazing volunteers.  The video series is called “Volunteer Breakthrough.”  In this video series, Ryan unpacks 10 Laws he has discovered that help create dynamic volunteer teams!  You’re going to love it.

You can get this video series for FREE just by clicking the image at the top of this post.  You don’t want to hesitate!  Why am I so passionate about this?  It’s because I have known Ryan for over ten years.  He and I have done trainings together, traveled together, ministered together, and he is one of my best friends in ministry.  I have seen the fruit of what God is doing through Ryan’s life – and it is changing the world!

You are VERY lucky to be able to get some of this RICH content for free.  I am thankful that Ryan has offered this to my blog readers.  Take advantage of it, because I don’t know how long it will last!

Ryan Frank, CEO/Publisher at Kidzmatter

 

Three Words That Will Energize Your Ministry

ENERGY

There are three words that will energize your ministry.  No, it’s not “Drink More Coffee!”  Although, on a Monday morning after a LONG Sunday, I can see where that would certainly help!  The three words that will energize your ministry:  ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY!

OK, so it’s the same word repeated twice!  But, having a high level of energy can transform a normally boring and routine Kids Ministry into a thriving one.  Just about everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else.  Kids want to be excited, pumped, and energized.  It all starts with you, the leader.

Some of you really struggle with this.  You work 5 days a week, run like crazy for your families on Saturday, and then on Sunday it is tough to have the energy you need to create a great experience for the kids to receive God’s Word.  So, I thought I would give you a few principles that will help you raise the energy level in your ministry…

How To Increase Energy:

1.  Realize what’s at stake

SOULS are at stake!  As Kidmin Leaders, we want these kids to see us excited about God’s word, worship, and serving others.  The level of passion you have will determine the level of passion THEY have.  When you realize that souls are at stake, suddenly the excuse of “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” doesn’t really cut it!

2.   Take responsibility for your own energy

Too many people wait to be pumped up by situations or persons.  They wait for the environment and all the external factors to be “just right” before they will respond with passion and energy.  As Kidmin Leaders, you can’t be like that.  You can’t wait for someone or something else to energize you.  You have to take responsibility and be proactive in having energy, not REACTIVE.

“The quality of your life is your gift to yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

If you wait for someone else to strike up your energy before you do anything, then life will pass you by – and so will many valuable ministry moments.

3.      Act your way into feeling

“Right decisions will eventually bring about right emotions.” – Stephen Covey

Don’t wait until you feel right to do right.  Do right and you will feel right.  There is an old saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it!”  I don’t know if I like the word “fake,” but I think in this case it works.  Fake joy is better than genuine depression any day – when it comes to leading in front of a group of kids.  That doesn’t mean don’t ever “be real” with people.  But, the time to “be real” and display your sadness is NOT while you are in front of a group of kids teaching about the Power of God!

It all boils down to this – whose energy are you using?  Colossians 1:29 says, “To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in me.”  When you are accomplishing GOD’S PURPOSE with GOD’S POWER, then you possess eternally renewable energy.  So stop struggling with your own energy, and tap into HIS!

6 Reasons You Aren’t Creative In Your Ministry

Kidminnovation-Facebook-Ad
I hear it all the time from so many Kids Ministry leaders.  It’s the six words that should NEVER come out of your mouth…“I’m just not a creative person.”

Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways such as, “How do you guys at High Voltage Kids Ministry do what you do?”“I could never do that!”  “I wish I could be more creative, but I don’t have it in me.”  “Why are some people creative and others aren’t?”

The 6 reasons most people aren’t creative in their ministry?  It’s because they believe the six words I stated above:  “I’m just not a creative person.”

The truth is everyone has creative potential.  We sell ourselves short thinking that creativity is some mystical ability that few are blessed with.

A large part of the problem is that there is an air of mystery and mysticism around the creative process.  Because people assume and reinforce the idea that some have creative potential and others don’t.  They assume that “creative” people somehow have a super power that others just do not possess.

Think back to when you were a child.  You were able to be kept busy for hours simply by playing with cardboard box.  That box instantly became a house, a fort, a fire station, a cannon – whatever your mind could come up with.  When you were a child, EVERYTHING was a toy.  You were definitely creative!

Somehow, through the years, we lose our fascination with everyday things, begin to lose our confidence, and somehow begin to believe the lie that “creativity is a gift reserved for the few.”  It’s not.  It is, however, a skill that must be developed.  Like any other muscle, your “creative muscle” will atrophy if you don’t put it to work regularly.

Bottom Line:  You were CREATED by the CREATOR in HIS IMAGE!  You are creative!  You were born creative!!  You just need to reclaim your gift that the enemy, the world, and society as a whole has stolen from you by squelching that gift right out of you.

This concept is the very reason why I wrote my latest e-book, “Kidminnovation:  Becoming The Creative Person God Created You To Be.”  I want to help EVERY Kidmin Leader embrace the creative innovator inside of them!  In fact, I believe in this so much that I am going to give you a chance to get this book for FREE!  You can download it HERE!

This week, take 15 minutes on this creativity exercise.  Walk into a room, find a random object, and see if you can turn it into some sort of spiritual object lesson.  Don’t worry, nobody is watching.  When you have completed this, guess what – you just took a step closer to unleashing the creativity inside of you!

Stop selling yourself short!  You ARE creative!  Now, get out there and create something amazing to change the world for your kids!  You can do it!!!

What Your Kids Can Learn From Kevin Durant

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE Dallas Mavericks fan (yes, I am fully aware of how bad we lost in Game 7 to the Spurs, LOL)!  Two of our biggest rivals are the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  I have always admired Kevin Durant as a player, but his acceptance speech for winning the 2014 MVP of the NBA took my respect for him to a whole new level.

It’s not often you see someone at his level truly appreciate those who got him there.  I normally hate watching acceptance speeches because the “thank yous” always seem trite and obligatory.  Not so with this speech.  The way he honored his teammates, his fans, and his family (especially his Mom) was impressive.

Kids who watch this video and watch Kevin Durant will learn what humility, gratitude, and HEART is all about!  I think you will be inspired as you watch it!  WORD OF CAUTION:  have some tissue handy when he talks to his mom at the end!

What are your thoughts?  Share them in the comments section of this post!

The Key To Limitless Creativity

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I like to write about creativity.  It’s a passion of mine because I know so many people who sell themselves short when it comes to creativity.  Many have decided that “creativity is a gift reserved for the few.”  This is simply not true – not if you serve GOD!

Even the most creative human minds are finite.  The term finite means “having bounds or limits; not infinite; measurable.”  But God is infinite.  He is “far above all,” not limited by any boundaries at all.  When we draw only on our own creative resources, it’s like drinking from a thimble instead of the Great Lakes.

God’s power, love, and plans are beyond anything we can imagine.  If we cultivate an attentive heart, we’ll tap into His limitless capacity.  We’ll never come close to the depths of His greatness, but we can take several steps closer!  In his beautiful prayer in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prayed, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

What’s the biggest dream you can imagine about how God can use you in his kingdom?  Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  Got it?  Guess what.  You just undercut God. Your greatest and grandest ideas don’t compare to God’s limitless plans and resources.  God is not limited to working with our imagination.  He goes well beyond it—immeasurably beyond.

Far too often, we forget the power of God to inspire us.  We think His power is reserved for healings, conversions, and deliverances, but it also operates in our creative plans and dreams.  God wants to inspire us with so many “God ideas” that we’ll never be able to implement them all.  But first, we have to have open, receptive hearts.

Is your heart open to receive?  More importantly, are you asking?

(for more about Creativity and receiving “God-Ideas”, see Chapter 2 in my book, “I Blew It!”)

FUN FRIDAY: “It’s Not About The Nail!”

This is one of the funniest videos I have ever seen.  I was reminded of it last night at an event I attended, so I wanted to share it with those of you who may not have seen it yet.  It is certainly something that EVERY man can relate to.  A word of advice:  “Don’t try to fix it, just listen.”  (if only I would heed my own advice more often, LOL)