Thursday, 18 November 2010

Penny's Heart: An Inspiring Story

The Gorman family share the story about how God has given them strength as they fight to keep their little girl, Penny, alive. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Listen to the story

Friday, 12 November 2010

John Wesley’s Twelve Rules for Preachers

John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the key leaders of the Evangelical Awakening in Britain during the mid-18th century. Circumstances drove Wesley to adopt itinerant evangelistic preaching, an idea he picked up from his friend and former student George Whitefield. Once Wesley embraced itinerancy, he extended his movement’s influence by appointing other itinerant preachers to serve various “circuits” (regional networks) of “classes” (small groups)–Wesley hoped this strategy would bring evangelical renewal to the Church of England. It did bring some renewal, but the greater fruit was the Methodist denominations that were birthed in both North America (1784) and Britain (1795).

Wesley laid out twelve rules for preachers who wished to serve as Methodist itinerants. While some of the rules themselves are not strictly applicable to a settled, non-Methodist ministry, there is still much wisdom to be gleaned from the principles Wesley articulated. The following is taken from John Telford’s The Life of John Wesley (Hodder & Stoughton, 1886), which is available online at the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University.

Wesley’s name for his itinerants was “preachers” or “helpers.” The preacher whose name stood first in the appointment for any circuit was the assistant, now known as the superintendent, who had oversight of all the work of the circuit. “In what view may we and our helpers be considered?” was another question. “Perhaps as extraordinary messengers (i.e., out of the ordinary way), designed—1. To provoke the regular ministers to jealousy. 2. To supply their lack of service towards those who are perishing for lack of knowledge.” Wesley’s twelve rules of a helper are still cherished as the guiding principles of a Methodist preacher :—

1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend more time at any place than is strictly necessary.

2. Be serious. Let your motto be, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.

3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women, particularly with young women.

4. Take no step towards marriage without solemn prayer to God and consulting with your brethren.

5. Believe evil of no one unless fully proved; take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction you can on everything. You know the judge is always sup­posed to be on the prisoner’s side.

6. Speak evil of no one, else your word, especially, would eat as doth a canker; keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.

7. Tell every one what you think wrong in him, lovingly and plainly, and as soon as may be, else it will fester in your own heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.

8. Do not affect the gentleman. A preacher of the Gospel is the servant of alL

9. Be ashamed of nothing but sin; no, not of clean­ing your own shoes when necessary.

10. Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them, and that for conscience’ sake.

11. You have nothing to do but to save souls. There­fore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those who want you, but to those who want you most.

12. Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel, and in union with your brethren. As such, it is your part to employ your time as our rules direct: partly in preaching and visiting from i house to house, partly in reading, meditation, and prayer. Above all, if you labour with us in our Lord’s vineyard, it is needful you should do that part of the work which the Conference shall advise, at those times and places which they shall judge most for His glory.

“Observe, it is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care merely of this or that Society, but to save as many souls as you can, to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and, with all• your power, to build them up in that holiness without which they cannot see the Lord. And, remember, a Methodist preacher is to mind every point, great and small, in the Methodist discipline. Therefore you will need all the grace and sense you have, and to have all your wits about you.”

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Generosity matters

The Bible instructs believers to be generous in every area of life.

If you are going to be a faithful steward, I challenge you to:

1. Declare who is Lord of your life
2. Understand what a faithful steward is
3. Be thankful for what you have, you have more than you realise
4. Give to God first
5. Give to God systematically
6. Give according to your means
7. Give cheerfully
8. Give regularly

Everything you will ever own in this life belongs to God and we are only stewards of it for a while!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Great post by John Maxwell

Leading with Excellence: Setting Personal Standards of Success

"Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be." ~ Zig Ziglar

Wise leaders set personal standards of excellence rather than allowing external forces to define success or failure for them. They set their standards above and beyond what others require, consistently delivering results that surpass expectations. In honoring their standards of excellence, credible leaders go first and give the most, modeling the work ethic they desire to see from teammates.

On the other hand, when leaders accept standards placed upon them by others, they sacrifice self-control. They begin to live inauthentic lives, chasing after "goals" they didn't set and violating their values in ways they never would have thought possible. In my experience, there are four common culprits that leaders foolishly allow to override their personal standards.

1) Competition

Allowing the competition to set your standards pulls you off mission and away from your unique strengths and values. Being overly concerned with your rivals may cause you to copy their unethical tactics or to engage in unprincipled behavior in an effort to win at all costs. In leadership, you have to chart your own course. Never allow the competition to choose the path for you.

2) Circumstances

Since there are so many factors beyond our control, in leadership we cannot gauge excellence solely on short-term results. Outcomes are important and goals have merit, but at times circumstances will conspire to block our progress. Consider the economic downturn. For leaders with standards of success tied to stock prices or bottom line profits, the last two years must seem like miserable failures. Keep your personal standards independent of life circumstances so that no matter what is going on around you, you can still achieve excellence.

3) Critics

As a leader, you will be criticized. You'll be scrutinized, second-guessed, and disparaged. Don't confuse excellence with pleasing others. If you do, you'll always feel like a failure, because it's impossible to please all of the people all of the time. Stay true to your personal standards and don't sacrifice them to pacify your critics.

4) Cheerleaders

When you're successful, you gain the applause of everyone around you. The applause massages your ego and begins to substitute for the fulfillment of meeting personal standards. If you're not careful, you can develop an addiction to applause. Instead of pursuing excellence you play to the crowd, craving their adoration. Seeking popularity over principle, you allow others to measure excellence for you and to define your worth.

To avoid the trap of pandering to applause, surround yourself with people who tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. The higher you go in leadership, the harder it becomes for your teammates to give you honest feedback. Make a point to stay humble and approachable so that you do not become self-deluded.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

47 lessons life has taught me!

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque!

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. Choose to love always - true love will always win.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special!

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait until you are old to wear bright colours!

24. Choose service above self.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Choose to walk through life with humility.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

46. Love God passionately.

47. Love your wife as much as Christ loves his church!