umbrella1I realize the title of this post is a bit invasive.

It assumes you’re hiding a particular sin. 

I once worked with someone who thought this way and spoke out often on the subject. He’d say to just about anyone, “I really have a hard time believing that you’re not hiding something sinful.”

Can you imagine what it was like for our leadership team to hear that all the time?

Then again, his candor rallied against the apathy most Christians seem to have toward one another’s secret sins. It almost seems like we have a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in church circles when it comes to the things we struggle with.

Maybe we fear if we hold someone accountable to their secret sins, they’ll hold us accountable to our own.

Again, assuming you have any secret sins.

John MacArthur said, “Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense.” Others have added that who you are when no one is looking is who you really are.

That may all be true, but all those statements seem to do is pile more guilt upon an area of your life that you may already feel guilty in.

Again, assuming you have any secret sins.

isawthatHere’s what I’ve observed:

  • It’s easier to live life compartmentalized versus integrated: One of our youth leaders mentioned how a particular carload of teens that came each week had two CDs in their car: one CD was labeled, “Wednesday night” and contained Christian music; the other CD had no label and contained songs riddled with with profanity, sex-talk and more. We could assume this is true of students, but the truth is most get their cues on a duplicitous life from us.
  • Intentional sin is more common than we care to admit: In every prayer circle, we hear people generally ask for support with their “struggles.” Seldom (if ever) do we hear someone say, “I plan on sinning this week, despite what God says about it. Here’s what I’ll be doing and when.” I wouldn’t assume (like my former co-worker did) that everyone is out to live like this, but wouldn’t you agree that it’s probably more the case than we assume it to be?
  • Nothing will collectively change unless someone individually models something more authentic: Present your own life on display as someone who is letting God work in areas that you’re likewise resisting Him. Talk about why between the two choices you’re still erring on the side of God’s best versus your mess. You may need to filter some of what you share to students, but make sure there are some peers who know the whole story so they can hold you accountable.

Again, assuming you have any secret sins.

What have you learned about this area of Christendom that we overlook – sometimes on purpose?

Any thoughts?

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 7.00.33 PMI am awful at remembering little things like tasks, appointments, and pants. Well, maybe I remember pants. But my life literally changed “in the year 2000” when I purchased a Visor PDA. It became my memory, reminding me to be places.

I like my reminders app built in to my iPhone and I use OmniFocus to GTD but I still need to enter those tasks in my app.

I recently saw the “Minutes App” drop to the price of FREE and grabbed it. I am willing to try just about any productivity app. Plus, free ain’t a bad price.

When you open the app it is easy to…
• Click the “+” to start new minutes.
• Title your meeting.
• Add attendees.
• Start taking note. And when you come to action items…
• Assign follow up actions to people in your meeting (using their email address).

When your meeting is over click “Send Minutes” and your minutes and actions will go out to your team. So simple!

I will be using the Minutes App at my next few youth staff meetings. Minutes App has calendar, contacts, and OmniFocus integration…wow! Check out their site for all the details and to download.

If you are not an iPhone user but would like to take digital minutes and send those minutes to your team, watch this video from Minutes.io and check out their free web service. It is a slimmed down version of Minutes App but gets the job done.

 



shoutI recently spent some time with the band Everyday Sunday after they led a worship concert at our weekend services. They had a few words of encouragement to share with you, so (if you’ll pardon the simple camera phone capture of their words) here’s a shout-out for you from the guys in the band:

Thanks for serving!

Remember, it’s all about relationships.

- Tony / @tonymyles

Sexting-PhoneSexting.

You can talk about this until you’re blue in the face. Still, a large majority of teens and adults see nothing wrong with it:

“Our only way of being alone was to do it over the phone.” – one teen, about why she began sexting

It doesn’t help that people students look up to find a reason to justify such pictures, even in the midst of public embarrassment. Consider Jennifer Lawrence’s response after pictures of here were leaked online last fall:

“I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for. I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

Toss in a variety of other behaviors…

texting while driving…

pornography online…

cyberbullying…

all of it is contained within this infographic:
teen-online-dangers-infographic

So what do we do?

What about using curriculum, like the Pure Sex materials?

Have you found this can help?

Feeling like throwing in the towel on sexting and more?

Have you had any successes or failures in addressing this with students?



Arizona-Super-Bowl-2015

Are you, your ministry, or your small group(s) hosting a Super Bowl® Party this year? Did you know that Super Bowl XLIX will be available FREE via Live-Stream from NBC Universal? You could stream the BIG game directly into your party. XLIX will kick off with pregame coverage at 12:00 p.m. ET on Feb. 1. This streaming service is a gift from NBCUniversal.

Following the launch of NBCUniversal’s first ever TV Everywhere consumer campaign titled “Watch TV Without The TV,” NBCUniversal is creating “Super Stream Sunday” on Feb. 1, providing consumers with an unprecedented ability to enjoy 11 continuous hours of NBC streaming content without having to log-in, designed as a way for consumers to trial NBC’s TV Everywhere content offering. “Super Stream Sunday” content will include NBC’s presentation of Super Bowl XLIX, Katy Perry headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, the Super Bowl XLIX pre- and post-game shows, and NBC’s post-game presentation of The Blacklist.

This is great news if you have “cut the cord” or do not have cable/satellite service where your party will be held.

In addition to a room full of students and great stadium shaped foods you might choose to do a special halftime show. If so, LifeChurch.TV is pulling through with another great FREE resource called Football Sunday. Football Sunday is…

A 30-minute sermon-replacement video hosted by ESPN’s Trent Dilfer and presented by TheIncrease.org. Featuring exclusive interviews with active and retired NFL players, as well as players from both Super Bowl Teams (yet to be determined, naturally), this production highlights how the increase of Christ and the decrease of self (John 3:30) has played out in their lives; sometimes through experiences that are unique to pro football players, but more often through experiences that are common to all people and thus extremely relatable.

Check out the FAQ section from this link (FootBall Sunday) and download free resources to promo your event at this LifeChurch.TV link.

In addition to these great resources check out this Super Bowl® safety link from 2013, “Are you Having a Super Bowl® Party?

 

20small

A Poor Understanding

 —  January 23, 2015 — Leave a comment

You likely have an opinion about the poor.

You may have even served the poor.

Do you have an understanding of the poor, though?

 

CheckCashing

“When you are broke, you can’t plan ahead or shop sales or buy in bulk. Poor people wait to buy something until they absolutely need it, so they have to pay whatever the going price is at that moment. If ten-packs of paper towels are on sale for half price, that’s great, but you can only afford one roll anyway. In this way, poor people actually pay more than others for common staple goods.”

That quote was spotlighted in a Washington Post article that compiles a Reddit thread discussing this very topic.

It’s worth a read, even if it’s for insights on things in youth culture you’ve never fully understood:

“I just learned this from a teenage burglar a couple years ago. Baseball caps with a completely straight brim and the sticker still on it were made popular because inner city kids wanted to prove they could afford brand new name brand things. It’s kind of sad that’s how some trends start.”

So…

what is something you wish you or others understood more about poverty?



It’s one thing to desire to be in leadership…it’s another to actually lead people.

As I watch other leaders, consider my own life in leadership or think about all the people I have had on my staff, there are some common denominators in those that are effective in leadership. I can also think of a few commonalities I see hindering effective leadership. These are often missed at first glance, but over time they are usually seen clearly by those that open their eyes.

There are many definitions of leadership, but the one I refer to the most is: Leaders get people to do things they never wanted to do, and like it.

This definition has the idea of being able to positively effect someone’s actions AND desires. These leaders can get to the heart of someone in ways that cause movement. From a spiritual leadership position, where we view this as being used by God for His kingdom purposes, this is a lot of fun. Mature leaders are hard to come by sometimes, but we have some phenomenal leaders in the Church today. That said, there are also a bunch of “wanna-be” leaders that inevitably hinder their own leadership potential by thinking wrongly in the following 2 ways:

  1. They take themselves more seriously than their work. Effective leaders take their work seriously, but don’t take themselves that seriously. This allows them to encourage other people to lead and empower creativity/ingenuity in others. If leaders take themselves too seriously, they protect their position and seek to control what other people are doing through either micro-management or overly assigning things to do. This would be, at best, a manager – not a leader.
  2. They think they need a position to lead well. I know a lot of people who think they need to have a position before they can lead effectively. Granted, we do need a voice in people’s lives to positively effect them, but our lives are what give us that voice. If a position is required to lead people, you are not a leader. This mentality will actually hinder your leadership in the long-run.

What do you think? Have you seen either of these characteristics in yourself…?

phoenI have been playing around with a Samsung Galaxy S4. It is pretty slick. I purchased it at a used phone dealer so I can play with a review more Android apps. As I have been reacquainting myself with the Android system, I decided to try to make it work with one of the pay-as-you-go providers.

In addition to all the major cell providers (Verizon, ATT, Sprint, etc), there are several more…
Republic Wireless
Cricket
Tracfone
Virgin Mobile
Net 10
Freedom Pop

And the list goes on…

My Samsung Galaxy S4 is a Verizon phone so I decided to test out Walmart’s Straight Talk. I pay $7 to have a sim card mailed to me (they are free with most major companies but these guys are cutting corners to keep costs low). I paid $45 for a month of unlimited talk, text, and data (and it is less if you choose a flip phone/no data). The data is actually 3gb at 4G LTE speeds, then drops to super slow speeds. (I can’t report how low the slow speeds are because I haven’t burned through my first 3gb yet). Straight Talk‘s coverage looks outstanding and so far works great in my area. The cost is great, I pay Verizon way more than $45 for one of our phones and they only give me 2gb of downloads. And Straight Talk has no contract. Straight Talk even sells a year in advance for under $500. I will be speaking in Colorado, Central Iowa, and Pennsylvania in the next 4 weeks, I am eager to experience calls and data coverage in these areas.

So what is the catch with a budget cell provider? The biggest catch is the cost of a good phone. you can get a very inexpensive smartphone but you will pay full price for the latest phones unless you have a reseller near you. You can use an iPhone 6 on Straight Talk‘s network but you will be paying the full $800…no 2 year contract discounts.

If you are a youth worker on a budget this may save your family a lot of money! Maybe you have an old phone lying around, see if it works on the Straight Talk network here.

Check out this Consumer Reports link for more info on each and do a little research (Cost, Coverage, and NO Contracts).