The Dragonslayer

This week I had a monumental discussion with my five year old son, Mikey.

While he was getting ready for bed he said to me, “When I grow up and I’m big enough I’m gonna find the Devil.”

“Really Mike! And what will you do when you find him?” I asked.

In a matter of fact voice he replied, “Kill him.”

After a moment of stunned silence I inquired, “How are you going to do that?”

He paused and then said, “I guess I’ll have to find some stuff and make a sword. Then I’ll poke him.”

Intrigued by my five year olds audacity, I asked, “Mikey, do you really think you can kill Satan?”

He turned toward me and in a serious voice stated, “Yes. My name is Michael.”

So… What are your goals? How seriously are you taking the name of Jesus and the call he has placed on your life?

I hope Mikey never looses his zeal!

Life and Pancakes
By: David Edgren

Conclusion.

Each of us has a philosophical structure that we live by. Whether we are conscious of this structure or not, it is there. I have delved deep into the recesses of my mind (it always seems to be at recess) and found a bit of pithy wit. These one-liners (and the occasional extended one-liner) seem to represent my general attitude and focus in life. This philosophy of life contains many various facets and strongholds. It also has conveniently placed releases that allow me to do something completely out of character and still consider myself in line with myself. Have you ever found yourself standing in line with yourself? It is much like finding yourself beside yourself.

Brief conversation with Self.

You: Hello Self.
Self: Hi there.
You: Funny meeting you here!
Self: Indeed. How am I?
You: You are, I mean… I am… Um… We are.
Self: Well said.

Find yourself.

Now I would like to share some of my new found realizations of life with you. While reading them you will find yourself laughing. After reading them you will most likely find yourself with a new more profound understanding of pancake batter.

Relationships come and relationships go.
But only dirt can make flowers grow.

While this may seem a very insightful poem on the intricacies of life it is actually a poem I wrote to help a close friend start a garden. He now has a beautiful plethora of flowers growing in his yard. In direct correlation he also has a vast number of relationships that have come and gone.

Every dog has his day, but so does every fire hydrant.

This is a simple way of understanding why things happen to you. On some days you are going to be a lucky dog and on others you will be a mere pee-on.

I am their leader, which way did they go?

Every day you will find something or someone that you are following and someone else that is following you. It is your duty to follow the right leader and at the same time be the best role model you can.

Run for it.

This is good advice for many situations you will encounter. Often you will find yourself stuck deep in the mud of life and will have to pull your feet out (which will make a rather hideous slurping sound) and run for the nearest exit.

Stop, look and listen.

We all spend far too little time doing any of these. We get so busy going nowhere that we forget to stop somewhere every once in a while and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Stop, drop and roll.

Another evasive tactic for self preservation. When the flames of life are licking at your heals keep running. But, when you are on fire by all means take the time to put out the flames.

Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.

Running into another car at a traffic light does not make the magazine you were reading any better or worse. It just gives you a new understanding of the tremendous benefits of bumpers.

We all need bumpers.

The inventor of the bumper obviously had a very good understanding of life. By having a bumper placed about three seconds in front of our most repulsive anger we can save the ones we love from much harm.

Introduction.

Well, this is just a introduction to the constantly adapting philosophy that I call happiness. You are an extremely awesome person. I know it sounds conceited but you must believe it of yourself. My believing it of you will get you nowhere. Say it out loud right now. I don't care where you are just say, "I am a great person and I deserve every good thing that comes to me." A truly happy person is one who honestly loves himself.

While most of the thoughts in this article were funny, I hope you gained some tiny benefit from something here within.

Challenge.

I have given you the new recipe for better batter, now I challenge you to make yourself a better pancake.

Follow Me Friend

Who you are…

What do you believe?
Who else believes it?
How did you learn it?
Why do you believe it?

Chances are…

You believe what you believe
because of who you know
and what they taught you
because they believed it.

Each of us knows people who need to know Jesus. Hearing the facts will not change them. Having the Truth shared with them will not save them. They need a friend to hang their heart on. You are called to be that friend. Build intentionally evangelistic friendships. Be strategic. Be brave. Be filled with the Spirit. And chances are… they will follow you to Jesus!

Ways to express love at church

From the "Developing Love" video in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Five ways to express Love

Come right out and say it!
“I LOVE YOU!” are the three most powerful words in the world.

Write it down
Cards, Notes, Letters

Touch

Appropriate touch

Hold kids, shake hands, Touch shoulders/backs

Lay hands on people during prayer

Small acts of kindness
Do things for others and tell them why

Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn
Celebrate others good fortune

Care for those who Suffer

You never forget the people who suffer with you

A Couple extra’s of my own

Gifts
Momentos or memories and

Emotive reminders

Share a meal
Jesus ate with people constantly

Those who eat together grow close

The Power of Love

From another video in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Nothing can grow your church like love.

Love one another.

Jesus said Love does everything!
It moves us, motivates us, changes us, controls us, matures us, fills us,

Create a place that causes people to say to others, “Come with me. You can’t miss this.”

When your church is a loving place and people from the love-starved world watch the way you treat each other, they want to be with you and one of you.

How do we get the love of Christ out of our hearts and into the hearts of others?
Don’t be afraid to show love! You can’t say it wrong. It always feels good for them.
Be bold. Take a risk and be a bold expresser of love!

Heart building Habits - Experiences

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Extended Solitude
Go away for a day.
Give the gift of solitude to your spouse.

Retreats
Take your team away for celebration, planning, ministry.

Cross Cultural
Broaden your worldview. Go to another world – 3rd world, poor, lost.

The best gift you can give to your family, your church, your Lord is a surrendered heart.

Heart building Habits - Relationships

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

Building and maintaining a healthy spiritual life requires relationships.

Spiritual Friends
God uses our human relationships to love us and help us love others

Mentoring
Directing people to pay attention to God

Peer
Looking eye to eye and facing Christ together

Benefits of Spiritual friends
Confession, Celebration, Challenge, Encouragement

Heart building Habits - Practices

From the video "Heart building Habits " in the Bill Hybels Leadership series!

The worries of life SCREAM for attention. God only seems to whisper. Carving out time for God often gets lost in the fray of business. When everything in your minister is getting bigger and your heart for God and people is getting smaller you know you are experiencing the shrivelling heart syndrome.

Practices
1 Tim 4:7,8 - Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Ask: What practices do I need to be involved in to be successful in my ministry at this stage of life?

Secrets of the Successful Spiritual life

Solitude
The more visible your life, the more invisible time you need

Journaling
Helps you to see patterns & not repeat unhealthy habits

Prayer
ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
Write it down if you are easily distracted
Note: In a leadership tape I was listening to recently John Maxwell said “Never meet with someone you respect without planning your questions!” That applies to prayer! Plan your prayer. Write it. Read it!

Secret Acts of Service

Balance the visibility and invisibility in your life
Feel equally loved by God in hiddenness

Bible Reading

Spend the time you commit to spend
Read Christian books!

Ways to improve your Spiritual Gift of Teaching

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

Understand the dynamic of urgency

The greatest teachers are urgent about their message

The text is alive in you and speaks through your words, actions and passion


Commit yourself to clarity

What do you want the people to know?

What do you want the people to do?


Commit yourself to creativity

Make them think about it by teaching outside of your usual ways of teaching


Commit yourself to evaluation

Ask people to review your teaching style and content


Live in vital union with God so that your teaching receives His anointing

The integrity of your relationship with God shines through your preaching

People who are in love with Jesus are remembered for their love, not their word

Spiritual Gift Test - Teaching

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

Someone who has the Spiritual Gift of Teaching will have:

An usual interest and passion for the study of God’s Word
They want to know 5W & H, history, characters

They don’t want to stop reading & studying


An application in mind and plan how to communicate it

They have a twin track of discovery and communicating happening at once

They will be applying things as quickly as they discover them


A conviction that God’s word can transform a human life

Willing to bet everything on the ability of the Word of God

Hold strong opinions based on Biblical evidence and proof

Widespread consistent affirmation when they teach
People approach you privately and affirm your teaching has touched their heart


The quiet assurance of the Holy Spirit
that they are in the right role, with the right gift for the right reason

The Holy Spirit speaks to your heart with assurance and affirmation

The Gift of Teaching - Biblical Foundation

Notes from Bill Hybels Video "The Importance of Teaching in the Local Church"

2 Pillars of strength in a successful church – Leadership & Teaching

1 Timothy 4:12-15 – Don’t let your youthfulness hold you back
“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Give special attention to scripture study and teaching
Take Pains with these things, be absorbed in the development of your teaching
Yo
u should be getting visibly better at your teaching.
Don’t quit. Don’t get discouraged. Persevere!

Acts 2:42 – The church distinguished itself by devoting itself to the apostles teaching
"
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

Everything we do in church is in preparation for the teaching of the Word
Nothing takes the place of the teaching. Nothing should. Nothing can.
Teaching catalyses spiritual growth.

Teaching leads to change. In any area – teaching is required for growth & maturity.

Q. How do you ensure that great teaching is happening at your church?
A. Make sure that those teaching have the spiritual gift of teaching.

Empowering Volunteers

Another Bill Hybels Leadership Video Review

Ephesians 4:11-13
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upuntil we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God gives people gifts – for the equipping of the people in the church into the fullness of their work of service to build up the body of Christ

Jesus could have chosen to build the church a different way, but he didn’t.

Jesus established the church on the work of volunteers.

1. It takes "in your face" teaching to recruit, train and empower volunteers.
They have to be taught into confidence, skills, ministry.

What was the most difficult teaching job Jesus had?
That Christians are fundamentally servants – not consumers.
He taught it, he narrated it, he modelled it. He challenged them to be servants.

2. People need to be aligned with the spiritual gifts and freed to serve.
The great temptation in volunteer organisations is to USE people.
We must discover and develop that persons gifts before we put them into action.

Questions to ask people who serve:

  1. Did you enjoy doing that? (Joy comes from using spiritual gifts)
  2. Did it breathe lift into you? (If it builds them up it is a blessing to others!)
  3. How could we tweak your position a bit to make it suit you better?

3. We must convince volunteers that they are desperately needed but we cant afford to break their backs with ministry demands.

4. Be devoted to developing the volunteers full potential over time.

5. We must provide a sense of community that makes up for what we as of the volunteers.

6. Remind our volunteer regularly that what they are doing really matters – for eternity!

Volunteers need to know that the time, energy and gifts that they give to the church are valued, valuable and necessary! They are not crazy! (and they need to know that)

1 Cor 15:58 (Bill Hybels life verse)
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Discovering your leadership style

The next video in the series on leadership by Bill Hybels. I just watched it this afternoon. He suggests that he has seen 10 different types of leaders, all with the spiritual gift of Leadership, that do things idfferently and lead from different styles. He said that their Intuitive leadership abilities came out of thier individual style.

10 Styles of Leadership

1. Visionary Leader

Has a crystal clear picture of what he is building
Future oriented.
Not easily discouraged.
Has a FLAMING vision

2. Directional Leader

Humbly point the way to go based on facts, resources, people and history

3. Strategic Leader

can break big decisions down into steps
Insist on forming and sticking to a plan

4. Managing Leader

Organises people, processes, systems and resources for achievement
Establish mile markers on the road to the destination

5. Motivational Leader

Gets things done by inspiring the team
Gives lots of recognition and encouragement

6. Shepherding Leader

Slowly builds the team, Loves them, builds community & then leads
Builds people up and then leads them out
Team members love the shepherding leader more than any other type

7. Team Building Leader

Has a god given understanding of human nature
Not always a good shepherd – may not be emotional or highly affirming
Selects & places members perfectly where they are needed
Puts together a Kingdom Dream Team

8. Entrepreneurial leader

Always starting something new then moving on
Often loose interest and passion once its established
Once things get going so do they – on to something else
Must start something new every three or four years, or they start dieing
Love handing things over to someone else

9. Reengineering Leader

Is at his or her best in a turnaround situation
Wants to fix things that are broken
Finds old vision & values and reinvents the ministry
Revitalises a hurting organisation
Once things are running well they look for another wreck to fix

10. Bridge Building Leader

Works best with a complex organisations
Ties ministries together
Connects a big church into one entity

Once you understand your leadership style – LEAN into it! Develop it. Have fun!

Most people are not leaders

In the speach I refered to below Bill Hybels asked the auduence to raise their hands if they saw themselves in most of the 8 characteristics of Church Leadership that he listed. About 20 percent of the audience raised their hands. He said that was about the same response he received everywhere he goes.
About 20 percent of the people attending his seminars have the spiritual gift of leadership. I suspect that the people at those seminars would be more largely leadership focused than the general population. My guess is that about 5-7 percent of Christians have the gift of leadership. I enjoyed the following illustration.

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S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?"
Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

Visit PreachingToday.com for more illustrations and preaching resources.

Bill Hybels on the Spiritual Gift of Leadership

I just watched a video from the church library in which Bill Hybels establishes 8 statements that clarify if you have the spiritual gift of leadership. They are...

IF YOU HAVE THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF LEADERSHIP YOU WILL:

1. Develop and cast a God honouring vision
2. Build teams
3. Have the God given ability to inspire the team
4. Sense the need for possitive change and bring it about constructively
5. Establish core values
6. Allocate resources effectively
7. Identify degeneration and address it early
8. Create a leadership culture around yourself

Of valleys and mountain tops

When I was in my internship in ministry I learned a very valuable lesson - one that my wife already knew about me and affirmed when I mentioned it. I call it the Sunday Blues - a kind of spiritual hangover experience. Being a sanguine I have not been one to analyse my emotions as they usually range between happy and exuberant. But, after going through a few very involved Sabbaths I noticed that the following Sunday was not a fun day. I was less than happy (off my previous scale of emotional reckoning) and I didn't know why or what to do about it. Then, amazingly on Monday (or sometimes by Sunday afternoon) I would be back to my old cheerful self.
Everytime you climb over a mountain you go through a valley. That was the lesson I learned. So I started calling Sunday my "rest day" (that's why 666 is tattoed on my forehead!) while Jenny called Sunday "The day that Dave is useless!" Now, being accustomed to preaching, I find less and less Sundays that require solitude. I now block out a couple hours during each week for a time of Prayer and Quiet (minding my P&Q's!) That helps me stay balanced and focused. How do you do it? What strategies have you developed to maintain your sanity in a busy life of ministry and madness?
I found the following article about Elijah's "post mountain top expereice" to be an enlightening reminder of the neccessity of staying focused on God.

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Mount Horeb

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. - 1 Kings 19:8

Elijah and Moses were men of great zeal. They were passionate about their causes. Moses sought to free the Hebrews from the tyranny of slavery by killing an Egyptian with his own hand. Elijah, after calling down fire on the evil prophets of Baal, found himself spent physically and emotionally to the point he asked God to take his life.

Immediately after these two events, 500 years apart from one another, both men were led to the same Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. In Hebrew, Horeb means "desolation." This barren environment mirrored the condition of Moses and Elijah. For Moses, it was 40 years of barrenness. For Elijah, it was 40 days without food. Elijah became tired of standing alone for God.

As workplace believers we often become so focused on the goal we forget to meet God at our own Mount Horeb. This was the place God met both Moses and Elijah. It was a place of renewal, a place of new beginnings, a place of personal encounter with the living God.

Perhaps Elijah's greatest virtue was his zeal. Indeed, we shall see that twice in his communication with God, Elijah speaks of having been "very zealous" for the Lord. But zeal, unattended eventually becomes its own God; it compels us toward expectations, which are unrealistic, and outside the timing and anointing of God.

To remain balanced, zeal must be reined in and harnessed by strategic encounters with the living God. We otherwise become frustrated with people and discouraged with delays. We step outside our place of strength and spiritual protection. Many of us become so consumed with our battles that we are no longer aware of the presence of Jesus. We have been traveling in our own strength. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1994), 5.]

Pray that Jesus will teach us that intimacy with Him is the greatest measure of success. Lord, guide us to the mountain of Your presence.

The Nature of Evil

I had a number of discussions with people on Thursday about the nature of evil.
At
9am at Hilliard we talked about the occult and the many ways that Satan tries to gain entrance in our lives.
Later that morning I was talking to my video store man, James, and he told me a number of stories about the "reality" of the Devil and evil powers.
For lunch on Thursday I met with the Minister's Fraternal (ministers from all the
Eastern Shore churches) and I shared some of the morning's discussions with them. They were less interested than the kids and the video man. In fact they were disinterested. It was as if they didn't believe the Devil was alive and active in our world.
Where do you fall on the spectrum?
Is Satan an old theory and outdated enemy?
Or is he an active force attempting to infiltrate your life?
Satan knows who he is even if we dont. He acts even if we don't believe.
Know your enemy. Don't underestimate him. Flee temptation. Resist in the name of Jesus!

Rachael's Question about Hearing Jesus

Rachael was sitting on the couch in the lounge room with me this afternoon and she asked me a wonderfully exciting question. "How do we hear Jesus talking to us?"
That made me smile. Coming from a four year old it was an interesting one to answer.
First I needed to establish what she meant. She explained, "Well, if i can't see him then I can't hear him. Can he really talk to me?"
We talked about the difference between your heart and your ears. That Jesus talks to our hearts. We talked about Jesus giving us the Bible so that we can hear his Word. And we talked about Heaven. Rachael is excited about going to Heaven where she can see Jesus and hear his voice with her ears.
So am I.
But, somehow, I think it is more real to Rachael. I think she wants to have special talks with Jesus. And I think she just wants to listen. To hear his voice and to see his face. Jesus is real to Rachael. More real that I think I'm even able to imagine.
No wonder we are told that we need to be like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oct 1 - The Prophecy Story - Day 1

Yesterday at church we launched The Prophecy Story at Rosny Church. We have been building momentum for the last couple months getting prepared. We had TV commercials, promotional giveaways, letterboxed postcards and encouraged members to invite friends along.
To our joy, over 25 guests came to the service! There were 100 in attendance.
So many wonderful people worked together to make the program happen. Melinda organised the kids who did the welcoming, Jason organised the worship, Jo lead out in Drama, Mel with the Kids story, I presented Daniel 2 and Shasta created a wonderful atmosphere afterwards with her delicious food! Then afterward Melinda collected and coolated all the registration forms and we found out how many new people were with us!
It was a beautiful thing to look out during the sermon and see the reactions of interest from a number of people who had obviously never heard the prophecies of Daniel explained before! It was a real joy!
God is good.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...