Giving Up - Our Greatest Weakness?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

 It can be easy to want to give up. We naturally are not attracted to doing something hard. Granted, some people enjoy a good workout that is extremely hard and pushes your body to the limit. However, that same person my not want to clean their car because it appears too difficult.

When I instruct my son to clean his room, he usually responds by saying that it is "too hard." Part of his whining is because he doesn't want to do it and part of it is due to how messy his room has become over time. Once he begins, he will often times find something to play with that has been uncovered in his cleaning.

Again, he doesn't want to keep going for he would rather just give up. Maybe you are a "cleaner" and not the "workout" person. For working out would be too difficult for you and you would want to give up. That brings us to this week's quote about giving up.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up...the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time," Thomas Edison

It is said that Thomas Edison had 10,000 failures. Imagine somewhere in the 2,500th and 7,500th try of an invention if he would have given up. Take a minute after reading this and look up all the inventions that are given credit to Thomas Edison. After that, consider if he would have given up on any of those. Some we may have never had the opportunity to see. Though some of his inventions have been modified from the original, they are still something that have brought happiness to many of us.

Let's take it back to us. How much do we want to give up...on life? your marriage? yourself? your kids? your job? your schooling? your church?

If you give up now, you will never know the possibilities that may come about if you keep going! DON'T GIVE UP! Keep going! You will never know the end of the story if you give up now! Stick it out to the end!

Have a blessed day!

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SoulPrint  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

When it comes to youth ministry there are lots of facets. Where you live – the type of community, the religious temperature of the community – determines what type of direction one should take in youth ministry.
To get a “Soul Print” of your ministry means that you will see a passion for your area of ministry.
Ministry needs passion, excitement, and fervor for it to really be able to take flight and soar. Mark Batterson helps us in our pursuit of “flying” with our ministries.

Are you ready to be imprinted with a new fervor for ministry? Take a look at Soul Print and take flight! 
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What if your non-churchgoing friends asked you to join them for a few weekends in a given two-week period, doing what they do and going where they go. This would cause you to miss your church times, would you do it?

Some of you may have answered an emphatic "NO" to that question. Then the next question is simply, "Why?" I would guess that a lot of you would answer something like, "It would cause me to miss church", "I wouldn't feel 'right'", or "It would be odd/awkward/uncomfortable."

Here's another thought...what if your church decided to take out everything in its auditorium and replace it with some round tables, with chairs. Additionally, they stopped having regular meeting times and started having opportunities for you to come whenever you wanted to come, on Sundays (for tradition sake). When you did come, you could either sit down at a kiosk and listen to the sermon that was previously recorded or go into a room where, for bigger groups, and watch the sermon on the screen. You would also have your time to visit, maybe sitting around the tables that were set up or in an area that people could stand and visit. You also wouldn't be required to watch a sermon, you could simply come and hang out as long as you wanted. Does that sound appealing?

For most, that sounds like something so wrong and uncomfortable that it is not church at all.

What if I told you that the first scenario may be how some of your friends view an invitation to go to church with you. Does that surprise you? In essence you are asking them to interrupt their weekend plans for one, two or more weekends. They are going to a place they don't understand. Sing songs, do chants, shake hands with people, practice rituals and various other things, of which they are not familiar with and may make them uncomfortable.

I recently watched a video that talked about a churches and discipleship, by Todd Engstrom. It was eye-opening to me and showed me how our "church" gatherings may not be that appealing to others. It doesn't matter if it is a "small group" setting. These still tend to highlight the organizational aspect of religion.

People tend to not like organizational religion. The idea that everything is so formal or planned out, demonstrates how that speaks to me. To stand around and visit with people, similar to what one does when they go to an informal gathering, is "unorganized."

I doubt my church setting "remodel" will take place in my generation, but it may be a key in helping people become more attracted to church because it is more what society is like outside of our formal Sunday and Wednesday church gatherings.

I also find it interesting that Jesus went with others to their community. Zacchaeus, Matthew, and Woman at the Well all were example of Jesus being with them in their community. He didn't drop off his proverbial business card and say "Come and join us on Sunday." If He didn't do that, why do we?

Meeting them on their turf seemed to be less uncomfortable and more impactful. Maybe we could think about a way to use this principle and become more of what Christ would be to the 21st Century.

May we also be more sympathetic toward our non-churchgoing friends when they turn us down for an opportunity to join us for a church gathering.

Now it's your turn...How does this affect your view of your non-churchgoing friends?Share/Bookmark

Taking a Chance - No Regrets  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

There is something about me which I enjoy putting a thought out there and seeing what happens. I am not into sales but I am into wonder. I like to wonder what is going on in a person's life. I like to wonder if they might be interested in talking about a subject. I like to wonder if there is something deeper underneath what they are saying. Therefore, I like to take a chance.

When I was a teenager and interested in dating, I would often be too embarrassed to talk to the girl I liked or have a difficult time even thinking that they might be interested in going out. This would cause me to miss out on the unknown. I did not take the chance that I should have in order to know whether or not they'd be even remotely interested.

It came to a point in my life that I did start to take some chances. I started to develop a sense of confidence that I was going to ask the tough questions, even if it meant things might become a bit sticky or I would simply be rejected. This was not limited to dating but rather in many other areas of my life. With this in mind, here is this week's quote...

No fact of human nature is more characteristic than its willingness to live on a chance. ~ Unknown
It seems that almost every famous person took some type of a chance on something or someone to get where they are in life. Maybe it was thousands of missed shots in basketball, thousands of failed experiments, hundreds of casting calls, or various other attempts in life.

I love to live a life of taking chances. I have had opportunities come my way simply because I took the opportunity to take a chance. If it wasn't for taking some of those chances, I would have missed out.

What is it that you are on the brink of that you need to take a chance on? Or, for the future, keep in mind things that if you take a chance, you will see some great opportunities come your way.

Who knows!? But one thing is for sure, if you don't take the chance you will never know!

Now it's your turn...When has chance been productive for you? Share/Bookmark

A few years ago, I went around a neighborhood asking people about their life. Specifically, I was asking them about their spiritual life. It was interesting and entertaining to do such a thing. People opened up to the "open ended questions" and I enjoyed visiting with them.

There was an interesting couple on my journey that I have never forgotten. They made me laugh inside. As we got around to talking about their spiritual life, I asked them about what church they attend. They told me but it was immediately followed with comments that they didn't really like it that well and they weren't that happy. I probed into their answer and asked them if they would ever consider going somewhere else. They replied with a "no." As the conversation continued, they basically said they were "set" with where they were at and not likely going to change.

What is it about people that they don't want to change? There are lots of reasons and the parameters of the topic will determine the ability of change in a person. We are all different. One of the things I like about life is that it changes. I change. My environment changes. Everything changes.

However, if we would be open to some changes, we'd likely be amazed at what we can do. That brings us to this week's quote...

Your are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life's challenges: You get to find out that you're capable of being far more than you ever thought possible. ~ Karen Salmansohn
As you journey "between the dash" in your life, there are lots of stops along the way. You will change with each stop. They may be minor changes but there will be changes. You are a work in progress and you will change.

The other great thing is that what you are capable of is never quite known until you are presented with a challenge that speaks to that greatness. There are many great things hidden inside all of us that will bring out the best in us, within the realm of that obstacle.

When I was a freshman in high school, I took a typing class. I was lazy and barely made a "C" in the class. Over the years, I have been able to have a lot of experience in typing and am now pretty good and quick in my typing. I was able to rise to the challenge and overcome some of the obstacles.

My favorite challenge to overcome was the fact of what is now known as being "bullied." Living in the moment was not good but God allowed me to move past it and I revel in the fact of trying to encourage others through their challenges.

May you live up to the challenges that come your way. You are an unfinished work. There are great things ahead. Respond to the obstacles with greatness!

Now it's your turn...how has life presented you with challenges which you've been able to overcome? Are you experiencing challenges now that you need to overcome?Share/Bookmark

To initially want to do something different in or with your life is one thing but to go through with it can be a completely different story. We all have our "stories" and they all have their own brick walls in them, located somewhere in your journey. Once you arrive at that wall, the question is, what will you do?

Many times movies portray someone running from someone else and the chase comes to an end at a brick wall. It is now a dead end. What is one to do? Many times the one in the corner is the underdog hero and can find their way out. However, there is the occasional time when that isn't the case, especially if the good guys are not the ones against the brick wall.

As I mentioned earlier, all of us encounter brick walls in life and that brings us to this week's quote...

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people. ~ Randy Pausch
Life's brick walls may not be there to entrap us. I liked how this quote portrayed the brick walls, not as dead ends, but as means to an end. They were almost like doors. We see them as a dead end, nothing to look forward to on the other end. However, if you saw the recent release of "The Lorax" then you know that "Ted" was trying to get on the other side. The other side was there to portray opportunity and a sense of freedom.

The brick wall did not stop him from getting to his opportunity, but it gave an opportunity to find something good.

What brick wall in your future will provide opportunity and not a stoppoing point?

Now it's your turn...when has an obstacle turned into an opportunity?Share/Bookmark

Stuck on a Chapter?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever made a mistake and simply wished you could rewind and start over? If you're like most poeple you definitely have had those moments in your life. Maybe it was something you said. Maybe a semester in school you slacked off on. Or any other mistake...we want them to be rewound and start over.

Some choices we may want to start over but at the same time we haven't reached the point of being willing to start over. We are content to stay at the same place - even if we don't like it, it is not enough of a discomfort to move on.

Examples of this may include addictions, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc. We want to get to the next chapter in our lives, but the obstacles seem to be holding us back. This brings us to this week's quote...

You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. ~ Unknown
As I pondered the quote, it caused me to think about how often I have been known to re-read the last chapter. Maybe the chapter before that, as well.

When it comes to literal reading, I tend to be a bit slower, especially when I am really trying to comprehend. There have been known times when I would put a book down for a few days to a week and once I returned to the reading, I had to refresh my memory on what was going on in the book. This slows down my momentum in the book and generally causes the book to not be so impactful.

When we remain in a phase of life that would be much better for us to not be in, we are essentially "re-reading the lat chapter."

As you go through life, be aware of what chapter you are on and the obstacles that are preventing you from "reading the next chapter!"

Now it's your turn...what do you need to do in your current situation to "turn the page" and read the next chapter?Share/Bookmark