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Every Friday we dive into the Wayback Machine for a little trip down memory lane. If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.
Not everybody is going to be on stage this weekend.
Not everybody is going to be in the spotlight.
Not everybody will speak to the masses; not everybody will carry a title; not everybody will be seen by a crowd.
Somebody’s work is going to be behind the scenes. Somebody is going to feel like their contribution is insignificant. Somebody is going to ask the question, “Does what I do really matter?”
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Are we putting too much emphasis on the moment of conversion? (via @_MichaelKelley) Sobering stuff to think about.
You, like me, probably know someone in your life who at one time or another had what seemed to be a really genuine encounter with the gospel. They heard the word of truth, accepted they are a sinner, and asked Jesus to forgive them and be the Lord of their lives. And though the decision seemed genuine at the time, over the years you’ve seen them slowly but surely drift from that original moment until now they are just another story of someone who prayed a simple prayer, maybe got baptized, but now seem to have no real affection for Jesus.
Should you teach the world a new word? (via @ThisIsSethsBlog) Before you ask, yes: Connections Pastor is a real thing.
Choose a new name when it helps you achieve your goals, not because you’re worried about some truth-in-taxonomy commission giving you a hassle. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, it matters if you are understood.
Sweet little old lady smiles and waves at passing kids every day. (via @22Words) Every high school student in America needs a Tinney Davidson.
My firstborn turns 18 today. Yep, you read that right. I had to go back and read that first sentence a few times, myself.
I’ll never forget that brilliantly sunny day in a tiny community hospital when I was fulfilling all of the stereotypical “first dad” routines: pacing, fidgeting, perspiring, and fighting the urge to pass out cold on the floor (that’d already happened once before during the first trimester, anyway).
And then…Jacob was born. I remember holding my son, staring at his face, counting those fingers and toes, praying over him, and being struck with the glorious wonder of human life.
Eighteen years later, I’m still overcome with that wonder sometimes. I marvel at the grace of a God who allowed us to be Jacob’s parents. I’m stunned by the stewardship we’ve been given, to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail to be the perfect parents. I’m thankful for the realization that it’s not about our perfection (or lack thereof) as parents, but the ability to simply try to point him to Jesus.
I’m thankful for a little boy that’s grown to be a man.
I’m thankful for his servant’s heart: the dozen little things he does every day without taking credit for it.
I’m thankful for his work ethic: most weeks he works full-time hours in a part time position. He loves his job at the Christian Chicken, and it shows.
I’m thankful for his sense of humor: he’s got an extremely dry wit that’ll catch you off guard and nearly always makes me laugh.
I’m thankful for his love for his brothers: regardless of the torture he’s dished out on my other two sons, he loves ’em.
I’m thankful for his love for his sister: three years ago I watched him welcome Haven into our home, and I’ve watched him adore her ever since (the feeling is mutual).
I’m thankful for his protective nature: he takes care of his mama. Regardless of his teasing, she knows her baby loves her.
I’m thankful for his missional heart: last year he took his first mission trip to Baltimore. This summer he’ll spend a month working with university students in Southeast Asia. I wish I’d had that commitment at his age.
I’m thankful for his friendship: the older he gets, the more I like him. Not because he’s my son, but because he’s my friend.
I’m thankful for Jesus: after 18 years, I realize that all I did was buy diapers and put groceries in his belly. Jesus did the heavy lifting, and he’s making him look more like him every day.
Happy 18th, Jacob.
Around these parts, we talk a lot about serving our guests as well as our members. And that’s a great concept, as long as people behave themselves.
When they don’t complain about the parking, when they worship with passion rather than complaining about the volume, when they don’t gripe about the coffee bar shutting down when the service begins, then serving people is a delight and not a drudgery.
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Raleigh Boy Scout battling cancer receives high honor (via @WRAL) If you’re not a part of the Summit, you may not have had the opportunity to get to know the incredible Noah Spivey. Noah’s fierce faith in Jesus has been inspiring all of us from the early days of his cancer fight. Watch the video to see why.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the best Scout, but I try to be,” Spivey said. “My journey’s been rough. I got a lot of crap on my plate, but that doesn’t stop me. The Lord is greater than all the crap on my plate,” he said.
32 photos that will make you fall in love with Durham (via @movoto) I do love my adopted hometown.
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Netflix introduces new “Browse Endlessly” plan. (HT @LaughingSquid) It’s funny ’cause it’s true.
Humanity has only wiped out one disease—smallpox. This is the second. And we’re doing it without meds. (via @22Words) This is simply fascinating.
Right now, a mother in South Sudan is sipping from the bucket of water she is carrying to her family. A man in Mali or Chad is cooling his head in some standing water and takes a couple of gulps. A child in Ethiopia splashes her face and has a quick drink.
One of them swallows the very last Guinea Worm larva that will ever grow to torment a human being again. It will be painful for them, but after that it will literally never happen again.
Five Reasons You Should Smile More as a Leader. (via @MichaelHyatt) I have what some on my team call a “thinking face.” And it usually involves a less-than-happy look. While I’m actually not mad 94% of the time, this article nailed my frown to the wall.
“Are you angry at someone?”
“No,” I said, somewhat surprised.
“You sure?” she pressed.
“Absolutely,” I insisted.
“Then you might want to let your face know, because it looks like you are are ticked off! It’s intimidating and shutting people down.”
100 Year Old BFFs React to Pop Culture. (via @IAmSteveHarvey) Warning: there’s a couple of mild wordy-durds in this, but they’re spoken by 100 year old women, so I reckon it has to be okay.
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Yesterday we covered the six times in a weekend service that you should strategically plan to address your guests. But what about times when you should strategically plan not to talk to them?
Any time you would single them out.
True, the whole point of yesterday’s post was that you should recognize guests. But not if it means turning the spotlight on them in the service. Recognizing them in a general sense (“If you’re a guest with us today…”) is great. But getting too specific in a service can turn people away faster than you can imagine. (“Hey, you’re new. Stand up and tell us your name, who invited you, and the sin you’re currently struggling with.”)
I’ve got horror stories for days of how I’ve seen this go bad: “Welcome times” when members stand and guests remain seated. “Introduction times” when guests stand and members remain seated. Ushers handing out name tags or info cards to seated guests as a part of the service (i.e., all eyes are on them). I’ve even seen a church that played “Name That Mystery Person” at the beginning of the service (and no, I’m not making that up, and yes, the details are worse than you can imagine).
The key to interacting with guests is that you want them to set the speed for interaction. You should provide multiple opportunities for them to connect and take a next step, but ultimately you should leave the option to them. Some are ready to make themselves known from day one. Others want to remain more anonymous for a time. Neither of those things are wrong, they’re just deeply tied to an individual’s personality and comfort level, so respect it.
Think through your guest’s experience from your own perspective as an outsider. When you visit a restaurant or retail establishment, when you show up for the first day on the job, when you’re called on to give an impromptu speech at a big meeting, how do you feel? Harness that. Multiply it by ten, and then you’re starting to imagine what it’s like to show up at your church for the first time.
So how about it, readers? Are there any other times you shouldn’t talk to a guest? And better yet, what are your horror stories? Comment below.