“IF”–You Give Everything But Do Not Have Love  

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Ever heard the phrase, “attitude is everything”? It is generally used in situations where you are being inspired to do better – sporting event, scholastically, etc. Regardless, there is a lot of truth and depth to the phrase. There are tasks that I enjoy doing, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to do it because it is all about attitude.

When it comes to giving – money or yourself – that phrase also holds true. What is your attitude toward giving? Are you protective-conservative, protective-generous, or just generous?

Sunday, we looked at the last part of this series that dealt with giving all you have – possessions or yourself – but not giving it in love. One that gives, but in a showy or attention-seeking manner, gives without exhibiting love. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  • Why Give? ~ People have been made to feel guilty to give. Some feel cornered and there is no way out. Some prepare to set aside so much money to give to people/causes. There are so many worthy causes to give to in this world. Someone, some thing, somewhere need you – whether it is your money or your time/talents. May we take the time to think about why we’re giving. May the reason be as pure and caring toward the cause (not toward you) as possible.
  • Give More ~ Just when it seems that there is nothing else to give, if you dig deep enough you will find that there is. The “extra” may not be in monetary value, but it would be measured in your time or talents. Look for ways to give a little extra to something else you feel passionate about.

Doing things out of guilt or obligation are not the means to be able to show love. Giving out of love is the only way to show love. It may sound simple but keep in mind attitude is everything!


Meeting Every Day the Social Media Way  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

We tend to be a busy culture. Even in our rural area of western Kansas the pace is busy. Families are busy many days of the week with various activities. During the school year the activities may center on school, but even in the summer the activities don’t seem to lessen.

Busyness has eroded the opportunities for families to sit down and eat a meal together. Anymore, one or more of the family members have an activity or work so that the family meal seems to have become less of a priority. It is good for any family to meet together on a regular basis – to have “family” time – whether that family is a biological family or spiritual family.

Focusing on the perspective of the spiritual family, I want to remind you that the early church, in Acts chapter 2, met every day, at least initially. This type of lifestyle is such a challenge for us in the 21st Century that we dismiss it before we consider how we can model the practice.

The principle of meeting together was to encourage each other as they were in this new lifestyle and under environmental stress. Stress causes discouragement and discouragement causes burnout. While burnout was not a product to be desired, church leaders needed the church to continue meeting together in order for positive outcomes to take place. Living in today’s setting we find it difficult to even come close to meeting together regularly, despite the fact that we are in a society infested with discouragement and environmental stress.

If the concept worked well for the early church, why, even in busyness, do we not look for ways to get together?

I think that even in a lifestyle such as ours there is a way that we can “connect” with people on a daily basis, one answer – social media. Social media has sprung up very quickly over the past few years and there are millions of people using this medium.

One of the neat things about social media is that it does allow for people to interact with each other on a daily basis. Facebook is a very common form of social media. It allows people to be connected and to update what is going on in their life...some on a daily basis. Twitter lets you “tweet” what you are doing, but in less words than Facebook. Both, through the technology of some mobile phones allows you to “check in” to various locations and report where you are at – both arrival and departure. People will know where you are at and what you are doing.

Letting people in your life is one of the advantages of the spiritual family. You get to lean on and rely on each other as you go through life, not to mention tell where you’ve been that day. We may not be face to face, but you will still know what is going on in the life of various people who you know and care about. This allows you to strike up a conversation with that person the next time you are seeing them in person, thus getting to know them deeper. That is definitely an advantage to taking advantage of social media.

One of the outcomes social media has allowed me to do was to connect with cousins. It had been over 15 years since seeing most of them, so I was thankful they were on Facebook. I would have never guessed that it would have happened that I could keep up with biological relatives in this fashion. I also have connected with past classmates from grade school to college to preaching school, all through this form of social media. Along with that is the ability to keep up with friends I’ve made throughout life.

So, even though our schedules may prevent us from meeting at a given location on a daily basis, we still have social media. With social media we can meet at the location we are at and still be in the same “location” as our friends and Christian family. Though it does not take the place of person-to-person contact, it is still a great way to stay in touch!

Who will you “connect” with today?


Meet “The Rookie,” Jim Morris on March 24-26  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

The Rookie...

Remember the movie made about the Texas baseball coach who went on to pitch in the Major Leagues?  The movie was made of Jim Morris’ true story. 

Connected with the Arms of Hope Ministries, this Christian man uses his fame and influence to care for hurting children.  Colleagues Terry Drake, Troy Robertson, and Kevin McDonald join Jim in presenting three classes at the workshop. 

You will want to learn of God’s amazing grace through this remarkable development!

Come to the Tulsa (OK) Fairgrounds On March 24-26 to have the opportunity to meet The Rookie!


Character Development  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

It is said that Michelangelo’s David wasn’t created in a short time. He didn’t do it during a semester of art school. The time it took was around three years. Can you imagine working on the same project for that long? I am sure a few of you can, as you have projects that have been ongoing and still not complete. However, this was something different. This was probably his main concentration
Would you be willing to wait for a solution to come in three years? Suffer from the smallest of maladies and be told you have to wait three years before you recover, would you be OK with that?
Maladies are not the only thing that is developed over time, which brings us to this week’s quote…

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.  ~ Helen Keller
Helen was on to something. She didn’t have any sort of an easy time growing up. Some may go as far as labeling her as the “epitome” of character development.
Greatness takes a certain amount of time to develop. Development tends to take time and being chipped away. Being chipped away is painful. However, the end, is greatness.
The next time you’re wanting to have an answer “right now,” remember it is probably being “chipped away” to create its outcome. Look forward to the journey!Share/Bookmark

Being the Baptist Church  

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I was reading something last week that ended with this quote, “Aren't we all intrigued by Jesus? Ours will always be the role of John the Baptist; we must decrease that he might increase. This is intrigue in the greatest of mysteries!”

As I was reading the end of the article the middle part of the quote stood out “Ours will always be the role of John the Baptist.” Do you see how we are to be the “Baptist” church, yet? Read on…

John the Baptist was to prepare the way. His job was to go before and get the people ready for something in the future. The Baptist was to prepare the way of Jesus, before He came onto the scene.

Many people today have not made the commitment to follow Jesus. Several do not even know that they need Jesus. It is our job to get them ready to make that commitment. We are to “prepare the way.”

What an awesome privilege and opportunity! You see, we don’t know when a particular person will want to make their commitment to be a part of Christ’s church, but neither did, in essence, John the Baptist know when Jesus would make his mark on this world.

Jesus could have started his ministry at any given point in his life after His message was “prepared” by John the Baptist. Interestingly, the starting of Jesus’ ministry was shortly after John started to “prepare the way.”

As John the Baptist had a plan to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus, into their life, so we, too, are in part of God’s plan to prepare people for the coming of Jesus into their life. The question is, how are you going to prepare people for the greatest thing that ever happened to them? How are you going to live out and impress upon them that this is the greatest thing that ever could have and will happen to them?


“IF”…I Have Great Faith But Not Love  

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I remember when I was thinking about getting into preaching (which was the furthest from my career-intended mind) I was a bit naïve and ignorant. I didn’t have a clue what all was really involved, and the depth of that involvement. I knew that a preacher preached, worked in an office, married and buried people, visited people, taught classes, and counseled people.

These were many of the descriptions of what a preacher would do. They each took up varied amounts of his week. Many ministers are good at most of the properties and challenged by the rest.

There is a common ingredient that must be interlaced throughout it all, love. If a preacher has an ability to do all of these with great success, but not love, then it does him no good.

Sure, he may be able to externally perform them, but without much love for those who he is ministering to, the tasks are unimportant. That concept works with everyone and how they view love versus the various abilities they possess.

Sunday we looked at how faith without love does not profit us anything. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  • “Things” are not important ~ Most of us would like to have more “things” in life. Whether they were material things or abilities/talents. Having all the “things” in the world, but not love is meaningless and we should weigh it as that.
  • Worthless is not Worthwhile ~ Though there are good things about having very little as it can humble us. Here being “nothing” is literally that. Being nothing is not of any aim for us. However, that is our destination if we do not have love.

Being able to love can be a tricky process. Taking the “softness” out and keeping it practical in all circles can take some time to understand what love actually entails. What is very important to recognize that no matter what we have or can do, if we don’t have love, it is worthless.


The Tulsa Workshop – …still focused on soul-winning! This year looks exciting!!!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

This year’s title is…"LET THE CHAINS FALL AWAY" and it is coming to Tulsa soon!

Sixty-seven speakers will descend upon the Tulsa Fairgrounds March 23-26.  Thirty-one (44%) of those are rookies to the workshop program.  New ideas.  Fundamental doctrine.  Evangelism motivation.  Tulsa continues to track toward creating energy to win souls. 

In addition to the usual and great anticipation of what Randy Harris or Rick Atchley or Jeff Walling will have to share, here are some new zones to watch:

  • For the first time the workshop will offer a Workshop Kids Praise Chorus for 2nd through 5th grades.  They will rehearse Wednesday and Thursday evenings and then sing a couple of songs with the praise team Friday evening before Rick Atchley speaks.
  • Jim Morris will be here.  The Rookie is a movie about his true story of moving from a baseball coach to the Big Leagues.
  • Cafe Sol will be a new meeting place within the Pavilion confines for teen gatherings.
  • Specialty sessions of For Church Leaders Only, For Prayer Warriors Only, For the Mission-minded Only, For Worship Leaders Only, For Children's Ministries Only, For Preachers Only, and For Elders Only will give specific groups opportunity to consider possibilities for their labors.
  • Music groups, hundreds of booths, deaf classes, "How to" classes, mission reports, praise and worship, and the AIM Flags Presentation, will offer something wonderful for everybody.



Do More  

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It seems like most of the time there are two categories which the majority of people are going to fall in to.

  1. Those that do most of the work or are very involved
  2. Those who hardly do any of the work or are hardly involved
Don’t get me wrong, there are people who fall in the middle. Also these categories will vary from situation to situation. One may be very involved in their job, but not much in the community.
The more one is involved the more they internalize the importance in a situation. I can relate to that in areas I wasn’t passionate about it going in, but once involved and find meaning behind it and then the passion grows.
That brings us to this week’s quote…
Do more than belong: participate.
Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice.
Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget.
Do more than dream: work.
By William Arthur Ward
How will you be spurred on to do more in at least one area that you haven’t been involved in? Think of what you will do differently.
Also, leave a comment if you’ve found areas in which you’ve become more involved, even hesitantly, but found benefit once you did become involved.Share/Bookmark

“That’s Discipleship”  

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Mentors and Mentored

The 2011 Tulsa Workshop has a thread of unique interest in its format.  Each evening keynoter mentored the following morning keynoter. 

Randy Harris has spent significant time working with Dusty Rush.  Especially blessed is Dusty to have learned about the workings of prayer.  Terry Rush is on staff with Jason Thornton.  They are a part of the Memorial team.  Jason is one of those guys highly skilled in way too many zones.  He is Memorial Drive’s Minister of Connections.  And then, similarly, Rick Atchley worked beside Jonathan Storment at the Hills before the latter moved on to Highland in Abilene.

The older guy/younger guy combination is an illustration of what soul winning is about.  We can chew gum and walk at the same time.  We train others while we are doing His work.  That’s discipleship.


Practice Does Not Always Make Perfect  

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We have owned our car since it was brand new. We were fortunate enough to purchase a brand new car back in 2003. When we test drove it, it had only 7 miles on it (now it is over 105,000). We bought in November of 2003, so I have been driving it for around 88 months.

I put gas in it 2-4 times a month, aside from trips. On the door of the driver are two buttons. One pulls out to open the trunk and one pushes to release the door to the gas tank.

The other day I was getting gas and pulled the door to the trunk. I probably do this about 50% of the time, especially when I don’t look at it. Part of the issue is that we used to own a car that you pulled to release the door to the gas tank, so I think my mind is stuck on that time in my life.

Eighty-eight months of having the same car and performing the same task (getting gas) and I am STILL getting it wrong much more than I should. One would think that after that long of time, I would have figured it out but I haven’t.

I think about how that can apply to us, as Christians. I have been a Christian for almost 27 years. There are things that I just learned since being a Christian, but I will mess up and stumble. I may also stumble again and again, unfortunately.

The cliché “practice makes perfect” was enlightened to me years ago to indicate that “perfect” practice makes perfect. In other words, we must practice in the correct way to have a habit of doing things right. I, obviously, have not been practicing “perfectly” to get down the habit of properly being able to open the door to the gas tank.

So whenever you see me shut my trunk at a gas pump, laugh to yourself because I probably pulled the trunk lever instead of pushing the gas door lever.


“IF”–You Know a Lot But Without Love  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

I shared the following in my sermon, and it seems appropriate to share again. In the television series Cheers there was an episode where two characters, Norm and Cliff were having a conversation. Cliff was sharing information about something trivial and Norm turns to him and says, “Cliff, you’re a walking encyclopedia.” Cliff responds, “Thanks, Norm.” Then Norm says, “Unfortunately, you’re a talking encyclopedia.”

Cliff knew a lot and unfortunately he liked to share the information. He didn’t seem to care who was around and if they were even listening. Cliff didn’t have a lot of discretion as to what he would share or how much he would share. Whenever and to whoever were around was his audience.

Sunday, we looked at the first part of the second verse of I Corinthians 13. This section dealt with the “IF” in the sense that one has prophetic powers, understands mysteries, and has all knowledge – all without love – then they are used for nothing. As we reflect on the lesson, here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  • Be Sensitive ~ Each audience that you speak to – formally or informally – is going to be a bit different. Some may soak in everything you say where others are going to soak in a small fraction of what you say. Sharing your faith? Understand that there may be people who do not want to hear much about your faith. Be sensitive to what your audience needs to hear (time and content).
  • Be Humble ~ I have completed a few scholastic accomplishments that make me feel like I accomplished something. However, in essence, you have simply completed requirements. No matter what gifts/talents you have, at then end of it all you still possess these talents to the fullest because of God. He gave them to you, so no matter how appealing
  • Be Loving ~ Some people may be interested in knowing more about the Son of Christ and want more than others. For the ones who are not quite ready to know about Christ, we need to be alert to give more of him. Keep in mind what people may want to hear and how much of it. Be sensitive and humble in knowing what will make it past the initial passing of information.

When it comes to being loving and sharing information, make sure that there is enough storage. May we impact hundreds over time!


Blue vs. Pink  

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Practically all of us grew up with the concept of having boys and girls being differentiated by blue and pink. Blue is manly and pink is girly. We even judge on those differentiations, especially for the guy because if he is wearing much pink then there is a stigma attached. However, the same goes, especially for a baby girl, if she is wearing too much blue.

Is it wrong to wear pink for a guy or blue for a girl or is it just different?  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought this may be a good quote to put out there…

Blue and pink, not wrong, just different.  ~ Emerson Eggerichs, author of “Love and Respect”

To give a brief background on this quote, man and woman are indicated by these two colors. Think that the man hears, sees, and speaks “blue.”  Whereas the woman hears, sees, and speaks “pink.”  This author lists a few examples of phrases we may say that are heard differently.

One example is “I don’t have any clothes to wear.”  If you say that to the blue group, you will get one response (typically – no clothes clean). You say that to the pink group and you will probably get a totally different response (typically – my clothes are outdated, I need new ones).  (If you’ve never heard this concept, ask your significant other and see if their response is anywhere close to the "typical”).

Enjoy your relationship and though we may think differently and react differently, that is what we are…blue and pink, not wrong, just different!

My Valentine’s Day Recommendation for Books for Couples:

Love and Respect – by Emerson Eggerichs

For Women Only & For Men Only – Each by Shaunti Feldhahn

Power of a Praying Wife & Power of a Praying Husband – Each by Stormie Omartian


“IF”…I Speak Not With Love  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

CRASH, BANG, KAPOW…these are not the most pleasant noises one likes to hear. However, words spoken without love or care come across like this. The tones do not always have to be uncomfortable to have the words be without love.

Speaking to someone in a demeaning way or pretending to like the conversation when you don’t is speaking “not with love.”

Sunday, we looked at the first part of our “IF” series, dealing with relationships. Paul writes in I Corinthians 13 about a few ways we can act that do not show love. We all fall into them from time to time. Here are some applications for you to choose from to use this week…

  • Pay Attention ~ Think about how you are speaking to someone. You can probably read it on their face. Do something to make the words most effective.
  • They Matter ~ As Christ died for you, He also died for the person you are talking to. Regardless of who they are, they matter! As you are interacting with them, don’t forget their importance!
  • Always a Next Time ~ If you blow it in one conversation, remember that there is a next time. Damage may be done, but don’t make it worse, rather see how you can make the future better.

Speaking with love or care can make all the difference to people. It doesn’t matter how great you speak, if done without love it is for nothing!


Believe the Change  

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Are you discontent? I am not asking if you have a good home, family, or job. I am speaking of a situation in your life, your community, your school, your church, your workplace, your family, etc., that is bothering you to the core. What is it?

To a few of you, this may sound familiar, as the concept comes from a book by Bill Hybels called “Holy Discontent.”

Most of us have something that bothers us on a regular basis. Something that we just cannot shake off. It is on your mind a lot. It may come to your mind on your drive to work or as you scan the headlines on your website of choice or your newspaper. You want to do something about it but do not know how.

The cool thing is that you are the most powerful force to make the change in what you are discontent about. This brings us to this week’s quote…

Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.  ~ Maxwell Maltz

You have a change you want to see. Do you believe you can make a change? You should. Maybe it takes Trump-size funding to complete what you want changed. It is likely you don’t have that type of funds available. However, what can you do with what you do have?

What you do have available to you – a voice, e-mail, time to volunteer, prayer, etc. – use it to make the change and believe you can be the change!