Friday, October 15, 2010 

Show Me "More Friday Funnies"!! - Family Feud Edition

Despite the recent, ridiculous controversy over a previous segment of Friday Funnies, I am still determined to make the few readers I have left laugh out loud. Here is a great clip of the old Game Show, Family Feud, where Richard Dawson absolutely loses it at the response of one of the contestants. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 

A Life Shaped by Books

Last week at SBC Voices, Dave Miller asked the question, "What are the books that have formed your views on ministry or have helped you to be more effective in what you do?" The Title of the post was "Books that Shaped My Life and Ministry." Taking those two together, I essentially posted on the books that have shaped me as a person and therefore as a minister. As I said in the comments, "There are a lot of books I could include in my top 5, but as far as shaping my life and ministry, there are very few." Here are some that came to mind in no specific order:

1) God Came Near by Max Lucado - this book is what actually got me into reading Christian books on my own, without being forced to because of some teacher. Though today it wouldn't be considered one of my favorite books, it certainly started me down the path of reading Christian Living books.

2) Desiring God by John Piper - Piper opened by eyes to how theology truth could profoundly affect me both emotionally and spiritually. His concept of "Christian Hedonism" showed me how I could pursue happiness by pursuing God.

3) A combination of The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur, The Race Set Before Us by Tom Schriener and Ardel Canaday, and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan - Starting with MacArthur's book, during my time just after seminary, I started to understand what salvation was actually supposed to look like and how our behaviors should affect how we perceive our perseverance and assurance.

4) Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - This book, combined with the 2 theology courses I took under Dr. Stan Norman at NOBTS led me to inerrancy and a deep love for theology. It also drew me away from Dispensationalism. I think it is probably the best basic, Baptist Systematic ever written.

5) Power in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix - This book, combined with the "Proclaiming the Bible" class I took with Dr. Shaddix at NOBTS is essentially how I was taught to preach. I refer to it often and the method is deeply inscribed in my preparation each week, though I am not nearly as organized in presentation as Shaddix or Vines advocate.

There are so many more I could list that have had big influences on me like, The Pursuit of God by Tozer, Knowing God by Packer, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Piper/Grudem, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Cymbala and Brothers, We are Not Professionals by Piper. Recently, I can say that
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, & Relevance by Bruce Ware has been extremely impactful to my ministry.

What books have shaped your life and ministry?

Monday, October 04, 2010 

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: Ideas to Up Your Small Church Giving

As a small Church pastor, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the need that I see around the world and the lack of resources that my Church has to offer. I want to lead my Church to give as much as possible to international missions (IMB - Lottie Moon), domestic missions (NAMB - Annie Armstrong, hunger relief (World Hunger & Relief Fund), child evangelism (Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child), and tons of local ministries like food banks, shelters, clothes closets, battered women's shelters, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation ministries. In short, there is so much need, but few resources in a small Church like ours.

Out of all of those, by far our largest offering each year is the Lottie Moon Christian Offering, which goes to support international missions through the IMB of the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the past two years, our giving to LMCO has more than doubled previous years' offerings. During my first year as pastor in 2008, we gave over $2500, an amount close to $50 per active member. Last year (2009), our Church gave almost $4300, which is over $80 per active member.

So how did we do it? How did we raise our giving by $30 per active member? Quite simply, we did one simple fundraiser - A YARD SALE! That's right. All we did is hold a Church-wide yard sale on the property. That sale, combined with a small benevolence offering, took in over $1700. That's almost as much as we gave in personal offerings!

This past Saturday we held our yard sale for this year. It was another successful year. Despite not being listed in the local paper (which was the paper's fault, not ours), we still raised over $700, which is 25% of our offering goal. So in essence, due to a simple 5-hour yard sale, our giving is going to be 25% higher than our simple offering contribution.

Another way we plan on upping our giving by an additional 10-15% is through what we call the "Lottie Moon Post Office". In a small Church like ours, everyone sends Christmas cards to everyone else in the Church. Instead of sending them through the mail and paying the Post Office 44 cents per card, we give 50 cents per card to our youth group members, who then deliver the cards before our worship service on Sunday mornings during the month of December. We estimate that this year we will raise some $300-400 more through the "Lottie Moon Post Office."

I hope that if you are a small Church pastor (or even a member of a small Church), these suggestions will help you to raise your international missions giving this year. If every small church our size raised just $700 through a yard sale and/or a "Lottie Moon Post Office", then our giving over last years total Lottie Moon Christmas Offering would be $17.6 million. That's an incredible amount of ministry that could be done simply by selling our unnecessary junk and sending Christmas cards to one another.

If you're a pastor or a member of a small Church, let me know what other programs have worked in your Church, which have fueled your Lottie Moon giving to new heights.

About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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