As the second term of school draws to a close, parents seek reassurance from teachers and class reports that their children are meeting the standard, hitting the target, and doing well in school. Yet the ongoing concerns persist, that these current standards are not what they used to be, that the academic standards in schools have universally dropped. Standards are important; important also for life. Read further in this article by Brad Locke.
'I don’t remember how long it took me, but I was probably 10 or 11 when I finally beat my father at ping-pong. Of course, I had to fling my body around chasing shots, while Dad was good at being in the right position. But I finally got to where I could hang with him, and sometimes beat him.
There is something special about taking down your old man. Not in the conquering sense, but in the sense that you’ve achieved a high standard. Dad was the reason I improved, the reason I was able to defeat him on occasion. He was the standard.
All sports achievements are measured by a standard. Sometimes that standard is a number, such as Hank Aaron’s 755 home runs. Sometimes the standard is the athlete himself. While Tiger Woods badly wants to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories, his greater hope is to be in the same class as Nicklaus, and that goes way beyond a mere number. Greatness in the sports realm is greater than the sum of one’s accomplishments. It encompasses every aspect of an athlete’s career – his big wins, yes, but also the big moments, the impact on the game, personality, commercial success, crossover appeal and so much more.
Until you reach the standard you’ve set for yourself, you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished much. Standards are something that, by definition, we respect and admire. There cannot be greatness without a standard.'
There's an app for that! How many times have you heard it? And there is a growing list of apps with Biblical content that you may find helpful. Check out just some of these:
* Tecarta Bible FREE -application designed for Bible study, quick navigation and easy notetaking; comes with KJV installed with other versions available; bookmark passages, highlight verses, margin notes, powerful folder system, cross-references, cloud sync, split screen for different versions, email and more.
* ReadingPlan FREE -helps track your progress as you read through the Bible; five plans included.
* Our Daily Bread $1.19 -the resource for which RBC Ministries is best known; helps readers spend time with God's Word.
* Strong's Concordance $4.99 -complete index to the entire Bible as well as complete Greek and Hebrew dictionary to words contained in the original texts.
* Big Bible Maps $3.99 -408 locations, cities, towns, kingdoms in the Bible mapped with detailed descriptions; dynamic touch maps serve as your guide to get perspective.
* Steps2Peace FREE -easy and fun way to explain the good news using cool graphics and verses from God's Word in 4 simple steps. (Billy Graham Evang. Assoc)
* Daily Verse Journal $3.99 -notetaking application for people who are reading and studying the Bible.
* iBible Quiz FREE -test your Bible knowledge as random questions are displayed with 4 options; humorous feedback is given after each question.
* Breaking Free by Beth Moore $12.99 -innovative Bible study includes interactive study guides with video and audio; personalise with notes, bookmarks, answering questions and fill in the blanks
* Soul Surfer Devotions $12.99 -following on from the movie Bethany speaks straight to teen girls about the challenges of facing your fears, living your faith and letting God take you on an epic ride.
* Love Dare Reminders $1.19 -marriage strengthening insights from the bestselling Love Dare book.
* Prayer Aide $2.49 -a prayer journal that you can adapt to suit your needs.
* Bible Promises $1.19 -contains more than 500 of the most popular verses organised by meaningful topics
* Bible Stories Word Search $1.19 -clean, family fun for all ages
** Adventure Bible Memory (kids) FREE -BIble memorising is fun as you complete verse scrambles, earn cool prizes and even record your own voice.
** Bible Tale (kids) $1.19 -selection of fun, interactive stories and engaging activities; read to me; edit me features
** Bible Movies - a collection of apps on the Bible for children between 3 and 13 years old; contains comic and film apps
** Cecil the Lost Sheep $3.99 -the story of Cecil the Sheep; includes activities
** Granny's Bible Dojo - fast action board crackin' game for learning the books of the Bible; fun for all ages
More coming soon......
On a human level, what really encourages people to investigate an authentic relationship with Jesus?
A recent study outlines the various approaches to outreach, evangelism or being missional: Academic approach (teaching, preaching, Bible study) 6%, Evangelistic crusades less than 1%, Special programs and events 5%, Relational efforts 78%. Many rely on the pastor to reach the unchurched or throw all their time, money and energies into creating special events, activities and programs and these are great. But what happens when those families or others from the community turn up to these events? If we’re serious about spreading the Good News, it’s time to be intentional about being relational and everyone has a role.
Thom Schultz recently wrote in his blog 'Holy Soup': A powerful ministry tool lies dormant in most churches. It’s waiting for you to activate it. It’s hospitality.Most think they do it well. Very few do.
This week I met a pastor who’s committed to transforming his church with a palpable embrace of hospitality. Knowing that Jesus exemplified hospitality in his ministry, Henry Brinton of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia, has identified three elements of effective hospitality for churches.
1. Create a “threshold place”—a location that connects the world and the church. This may be a carefully designed welcoming zone at the entrance of the church. Or it may be a different location that is easily accessible to the community. (Lifetree Café would qualify.) And all members need to practice the art of hospitality.
2. Provide opportunities for people to eat together. Jesus demonstrated that barriers melt when people gather around tables to share food and drink.
3. Find ways for people to talk together in small groupings. Hospitality blooms when people open up in trusting conversation.
Many churches believe they excel at hospitality. Brinton tells of visiting one of these, only to be sidelined by parishioners who clumped together to talk with their own cliques.Suspecting that his own church may not be as hospitable as it needs to be, he created a hospitality retreat where his people dove into the theology of hospitality—and joined in actually practicing how to act in hospitable ways.
Hospitality is everyone’s job. If you assign it to greeters and ushers, you won’t be a welcoming church.
The art of hospitality really isn’t that hard. Most people perform it well in their own homes. When guests come, most people greet them with a smile and a hug. They offer food and drink. They engage in genuine conversation. They listen. They show a real interest in what the guests have to say.We just need to transfer our home skills to church.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the