Category Archives: Daily Word
This is specifically written for pastors. However, everyone can use these principles for leading any organization.
- Write 5-10 hand written notes of encouragement every week. Pick a random group of people that either stand out with serving, are in need of prayer, new to the church, or been faithful since beginning. Pick kids, teens, and adults. When you send a note to a kid, you send a powerful message to their parents as well. Write 4-5 sentences that personally connect you to them.
- Invite someone to lunch or coffee every week. Find someone in the church that you know has potential. Reach out and get to know them over a quick lunch or coffee time.
- Preach better. Spend time in prayer and study. Do not only study the Bible, but also study other speakers. Watch videos of yourself. Ask for people’s feedback on your speaking. Be strategic about what you want people to know, feel, and do after your message.
- Make sure the morale is strong with volunteers. Spend time before service going around different areas of ministry and personally connect with people. This doesn’t mean that you talk for a long time. This means that you talk to them about their role and ask something personal. Remember details about them and ask about them the next time you see them. Find out if there is anything that can be done to make their job easier.
- Work hand in hand with the Worship and Tech teams. Make sure those teams know every transition detail. Over communicate cues and changes that need to be made.
- Analyze each service on Monday. What went wrong? How can we remedy it? What went right? How can we repeat it? Ask team members for their feedback on how their area went. Listen to what people are saying and respond.
- Promote clearly. Make sure the congregation knows when you are doing things. Don’t overwhelm them with too many announcements, but give them clear and accurate details for all events coming up.
- Study Rick Warren’s 5 Church purposes. Pastor Rick teaches a powerful lesson on worship, evangelism, ministry, fellowship, discipleship. Are you balanced with events, sermons, wording, website, small groups, etc that are reaching the community, crowd, congregation, committed, and core?
- Invest in things that build momentum. When we build the kingdom of God, we will spend money. The options on what to spend money on are limitless. Have a good budgeting system of people/committees. Find things that produce for your local culture. Social events? Guest Speakers? Gifts? Outreach projects? Staff? Don’t be afraid to spend money on the right things.
- Invest quality time into 10-12 people that are your core leaders. Go above and beyond for your “disciples”. It would be ideal for everyone in your church to also have 10-12 disciples in their life. Model this like Jesus did for us. Spend quality time with them. Invite them into your life. Challenge them when necessary.
The news is littered with stories about Bill Cosby. The beloved actor who many of us grew up laughing at is now being accused of horrible acts of violence. Multiple women have come forward with claims that he forced himself on them. Only them and Cosby really know what happened.
This post is not to condemn or exonerate Bill Cosby. More than that, it is me thinking out loud about the conflict in my heart about this whole situation. Here are some bullet point observations about my feelings.
- The general public has always thought Bill Cosby was a dad that we all wanted. His most famous character, Mr. Huxtable, was funny, caring, strong, successful and the positive list goes on and on. Bill’s comedy routines were always clean. He made us LOL (before that was cool) without ever saying anything socially inappropriate.
- When an accusation comes out against someone held in such high regard, my immediate response: “No! there is no way.” My thoughts are that Bill Cosby is the guy that we have always known and the guy we have always known would never do something like that. Then, when almost ten different women from different areas and time frames come out with similar stories, my brain and heart get really confused. Really? Could this actually be true? Could he have been doing that and then representing something completely different in public?
- If he didn’t commit these horrible acts, then why would all these women randomly say these things? What benefit or motive do they have in coming out if it didn’t really happen. Is it a conspiracy? Are they starving for attention and feel like they should jump on this bandwagon in order to get publicity?
- If he did commit these horrible acts, then what does that say about him as a person? Does that mean he is a bad person? Yes, if he did it, then he is a bad person. How much bad do we have to do before we are ‘bad people’? More importantly what does it mean for all the good things he did? What about all the positive things he did for the world through his comedy and philanthropy?
- How many good things would he have to do in order to pay for the immoral acts that he committed against these women? What would it take for the court of public opinion to accept him again?
- In a month or sooner, the news media will determine that the public is tired of this story and move on to another story. Everyone remember that airliner that disappeared earlier this year and it was on the news every hour for a couple weeks. They still haven’t found that plane, but we NEVER hear anything about it. WHEN this happens: What does this “moving on” do the victims? Are they validated and vindicated by his public ridicule? What should they do with the pain of the past when America moves on and Bill Cosby is either trashed or exonerated?
Have you had these thoughts or others?
One of favorite shows around the Steele home is Call of the Wildman – Ernie Brown Jr. “TURTLEMAN”
This show is wildly popular. He is a very likable guy, naïve, and humble. BUT the entertaining part is that he catches LIVE/Dangerous animals with his bare hands. Snapping turtles in NASTY ponds, rattlesnakes, possums, foxes, even skunks.
His show is fascinating because he has eliminated almost all safety barriers. There is no Margin for error. He has his bare hands.
No cages, no weapons, no devices. What is going to happen when there is absolutely no safety margin between Turtleman and the deadly animals? (diving down in murky water)
As you watch it, you think how did they come up with the idea of jumping into the pond and then how did they first person get picked to try it out? Who thought about getting it on video tape? I wouldn’t ever do it, but it is appealing to watch because there is no margin for error. People swimming with alligators and sharks.
And there is this guy thing that says you know if a guy is going to be eaten by a shark, and it going to happen any way I would kinda like to see that…
There is something entertaining about seeing them stretched to their emotional limit. Extreme sports, motorcycles, Skateboarding 30’ above the ground.
As fun as all that is, back here in the real world, there is nothing entertaining about watching people in the real world get pushed to their limit
- There is nothing fun about seeing your cousin’s marriage get pushed to the edge.
- There is nothing fun about seeing a teen skating on the edge of morality
- There is nothing fun about your scheduled stretched so tight that you have to remember if you spent any personal time with your kids that week.
- There is nothing fun about a friend spending to the edge of their finances and then an unexpected injury or bill arises to drive them to bankruptcy.
Our culture says that we have to live there. There is a surge all around us. A pace of life that seems to swallow us up. A life of rapid fire, pedal to the metal.
The reality is that you DON’T have to live there! God has a plan for us where He asks us to back away from the edge.
OVER THE NEXT MONTH, WE ARE GOING TO HELP YOU FIND SOME MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE. SOME BREATHING ROOM. A PACE OF LIFE. A PLACE OF FREEDOM.
Let’s talk quickly about 2 definitions of Margin.
Margins – amount available beyond what is actually needed.
- We have Margins on a page
- There is extra Margin on first class seats on a plane
- Highways have Margin
Margin – Space between our current performance and our limits.
- Running but not as fast as your could.
- Showing up 15min before something begins
- Getting to the end of the month and having money left over.
- Getting in an argument and even when others get angry, you have enough emotional headroom that you don’t blow your top.
We want extra space. We strive for margin in our life, YET how ironic is it that as soon as we find some in our relationships our finances, our time… we eat it. We live life without margin! What happens when margins decrease?
When margins decrease our stress goes up!
- Traffic and running late for appt.
- Financially – money is tight and when someone has an expense, stress goes up!
- Girl in relationship – and you have boundaries, then the guy pushes your margin away. You get stressed.
When margins decrease…Our focus narrows.
We become very self centered. We become aware of our personal needs. Mental Capacity shrinks.
When margins decrease…Relationships suffer.
When you are living your life without healthy margins you are not engaged in relationships.
- You are zoned out in conversations.
- You can be listening to everything they are saying, you can be nodding at all the right sentences and then you realize you haven’t heard a thing they were saying.
- How about worship music at church. You sing every word, throw in a halleluiah and an amen. And then realize that you haven’t thought of one word you have sung.
You are living without margins in your life. Lack of margins destroy marriages. Without margins you can’t listen as a parent.
Here is the key : Relationship happens in the margin of your life.
Our temptation is to get as much as we can crammed into our schedules. We try to get as much as we can with our credit. We try to get as much as we can with our girlfriend before we go to far. We like to live in the danger zone.
BUT Why don’t we DO less? Why don’t we CREATE margins?
Why don’t we buy cheaper cars? Why don’t we get out of that relationship? Why don’t you just break up? Why don’t we just create margin? We have FEAR. We are afraid that we are going to miss out on the good life. I can’t turn down any invitation. I can’t let anyone down.
WE ARE AFRAID
We are afraid of falling behind. Everyone else has their kids in basketball and air hockey leagues, and ballet, and if I don’t HELP my kid keep up, then it will be my fault. All the time we are helping our kids destroy the margins of their life.
WE are afraid that we will end up with a life that is not worth living. HOWEVER:
- Most folks in here are making more money than you ever have and yet we are afraid of not having enough money.
- We have more technology than we ever have had and yet we have less time. We are afraid of not being able to squeeze things in.
- (church leaders!) We are afraid of not mattering. We are afraid of not accomplishing this great task that God has given us or that we have imposed on ourselves. To start a business or change the school system or raise the standard of our local government.
Reducing the margin in your personal life is NOT a success strategy. That is a recipe for disaster.
We live at limits that are self imposed and culturally imposed.
We think we are going to hit a finish line and then there is a release. But that never happens! We are trying to catch up to people that don’t have margins either.
God says for us to “come back” come back from the edge. You might can sustain that pace but your wife can’t or your kids can’t!
Scripture reveals that
We all have Limits!
Financially, I can only afford certain things, I can only do one thing at a time, be at one place at a time.
This is elementary, but it is so true. Emotionally, morally, physically (I can go on 4 hours sleep. Shut up. That is not something to brag about. Go sleep.)
God has a plan for how we should live, and it is within certain limits.
We are Relational Beings.
We are created for relationships. God says we have limits. So he leads us to limits where relationships THRIVE. He leads us there for relationship. Not to leave a mark. Not to matter. Not keeping up with the joneses. (they refinance anyway) If your relationships are suffering, then you have chosen limits that are outside of God’s limits.
When God chose His nation (Jews). He mandated it. Thou shalt have MARGIN.
Exodus 20:8 Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
- On Friday night, you hang it up. Even if you haven’t done everything you needed to do, you hang it up. You stop everything for 24hours.
- God even gave margin to the land. You can plant here and not there. Now and not later.
- He gave margins to them financially. You must live on 80%. 10% to temple, 10% to poor
God says I know what you can do, AND I am calling you back. I want you to live with margins!
The Jews told God to FORGET the margins! So, God took care of that situation. He allowed the Babylonians to conquer them for 70 years. The Jews were put into slavery and then all of the sudden the Jews said, “hmmm, maybe margins were a good way to live after all.” God says: “I created time. I created economy. I created morality. I created you as a relational and emotional being.”
Jesus said the most important command was ”love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind AND love your neighbor as yourself” This is how you prioritize your life. Loving God and loving others! Make sure you give space for God and others and then the rest is up to you. The Great Commission takes time! Yes, Jesus was subtly telling them that they need margins.
As you squeeze margin our of your life, you squeeze God out of your life.
Relationship happens in the Margin.
Many people in America USED to go to church. And they left, not because of theological reasons, but because THEY GOT BUSY. Their margins were destroyed and they no longer had time for the things of God. Why do we drift from God? Our time, money, affection and morality margins are squeezed. We squeeze out God because we are pushing everything out.
You will thrive, grow, and prosper when you live in margins.
What is crazy is that many of you are probably saying, ‘pastor’ I don’t have time for margins. You are pastor so you have time to pray and read and fast and be with your family. whatevs!
It’s amazing how:
- When you have a heart attack, all of the sudden you make margins!
- When you marriage is on the rocks all of the sudden you take the time to make margins.
- In Texas when we have an ice storm, we realize that no matter what plans you made, they don’t matter. You don’t drive. No matter what tests are scheduled, schools are canceled.
- Many years ago, Christians said, “we can’t live on 90% and give 10% to God. And then the Govt said we’ll take 10% and everyone was forced to live on 90%. Then 15%, then 20%. WE HAD TO and we found a way. Or we go to jail.
THE POINT? You are going to live with limits. Either ones that you choose (mostly at the edge) or ones that God invites you to live with (with margins)
I’ll close with this:
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
God will wait for you to let him in. He will patiently wait. If you wait until bankruptcy, illness, divorce, He will come in a be with you.
Why don’t we choose, instead of being forced, to live within the Margin that God gives us
Here is my time.
Here is my morality.
Here is my money.
He will come in and lead you in a life of balance, health, and blessing.
More Financial Peace
Instead of posting my sermon notes today, I decided to post our small group discussion guide. It gives a good picture of the story and how to apply to your everyday life.
PROMISEGROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE: WEEK OF MAY 19 – Honorology – Bringing Honor Back!
What part of our society is missing honor the most?
David was a man of great honor. He honored the man of God, Saul even when Saul hunted David to destroy him. He told his men to never touch Saul.
But David lost his honor when we found comfort in the palace. He found himself lost in the maze of adultery. Sin had crept into David’s life and when that happened, honor was the first to leave. When he found out that his lover, Bathsheba, was pregnant, he sent for her husband Uriah. Ironically, it would be Uriah that brought honor back to the palace.
2 Samuel 11:6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. 10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. 12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house. 14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
What part of that story is most upsetting to you?
Where all does dishonor show up in that passage?
What characteristics does Uriah display in this story? How does he honor his God and his country?
What pleasures did he sacrifice to display this honor?
What ultimately happened to Uriah because of his honor?
Because of Uriah’s integrity, honor was brought back to David. His sin was revealed and purity/honor returned to the Kingdom.
Compare the act of Uriah and his act of integrity and honor with the life and work of Jesus Christ.
How does Jesus’ submission to man (disciples and Romans) pave the way for righteousness to return to Earth?
How does our honor or lack of honor display our heart? Explain.
How do we bring honor back to the society where we live?
How can we mirror Uriah and Jesus in modern times?
Is there anyone in your life right now that you need to show your honor to?
How can we pray with you today for any of these questions/topics of honor?
With superstition, God is no longer your father, and you are not his child. Instead, God is a magician. You have to say the right recipe prayer and it will unlock some secret door of heaven and all of the sudden YOU will get what you want. People often read the Bible from a selfish perspective as if the end objective or Goal is about you. As if the story is about you.
Here are 3 areas that I believe superstition has crept into the church. After I describe them, I will give my thoughts on the truth of the Gospel. Click here to hear my sermon on the topic.
1. Power of Tongue (good or bad) or the Power of your Speech
I actually read this phrase on church website last week. It summarizes the belief of the “Power of the Tongue” –
“What you say is what you have! The sum of where you are today, good or bad, is the sum of what you have been saying.”
People that believe this statement have taken a few scriptures and turned them into a superstitious ritual of getting what YOU want out of life.
Just a quick question before we go any further: If everything that comes out of your mouth is immediately becoming fact, then who is God? You. Whatever God speaks happens. Therefore, if whatever you speaks happens then you are God.