Website

The world of website development has come so far that there’s very little you can’t do online these days. But in spite of the progress – including easy to build websites – churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations still struggle getting their websites to accomplish their goals. Sometimes it’s an expectation problem (because after all, they don’t teach website development in seminary or Bible college) and sometimes it’s a lack of good advice. Either way, I decided to create a baseline list of what your website should be able to do. And if it doesn’t, you need to have a serious talk with your in-house webmaster or your outside vendor.

1) Your website should work. Sure there are times when sites or servers have issues, but they should be few and far between. If your site malfunctions on a regular basis, something is wrong. Don’t allow your webmaster or outside vendor to make excuses. If they can’t get it running smoothly on a regular basis, it’s time to look for another vendor.

2) You should be able to manage it in-house. With the exception of major design or technical changes,…

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Not Giving UpStatistically, this is the time of year when most people abandon the goals they set just a few weeks ago, giving into the idea that change is either hopeless or just too hard. We often give different names to the reasons for our failures:

Time – usually not enough of it.
Tough – the task is just too hard.
Terrible – to describe how you feel on the new diet, wake/sleep pattern, budget, etc.

The answer for most of these problems is simple though: maintaining consistency. Simple concept, yes, but difficult practice. The behaviors we repeat often define the reality of our lives. Aristotle may have said it best when he said:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

– Aristotle

You have probably heard that a habit can be created or broken in a matter of just 21 days. But more recent research has shown that this isn’t really accurate. The study reveals that the actual number is 66 days with variation of between 18 and 254 days depending on the specific habit being developed. Yes, some habits are harder to form,…

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Field at Sunrise

Two thousand years ago, in the Middle East, an event occurred that permanently changed the world. Because of that event, history was split. Every time you write a date, you’re using the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the focal point.

What’s so important about Easter? It’s important because it proved that Jesus was who he claimed to be. He was God in the flesh, and he came to earth to save us.

Three events occurred in a dramatic succession on that Easter weekend: the trial of Jesus, then the death of Jesus, and finally the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s look at each of those events and their implications.

The Trial

Jesus actually went through six trials. In that one night, he was brought before Annas, Caiaphas (the high priest), the Sanhedrin (the religious Supreme Court), Pilate (the governor of Jerusalem), Herod (the governor of Galilee), and then back to Pilate. At the end of those six trials, what did they find to accuse him of? Nothing. He had done nothing wrong. They brought in people to make up phony charges, but those didn’t stick. Finally they convicted him on one count: claiming to be the…

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Future Road

When a pastor compares himself to another pastor, it usually leads to discontentment. When a pastor has unrealistic expectations about his future, it may lead to extreme disappointment.

Finding your future as a pastor can be difficult. When you talk about it with others, it can place you in a vulnerable place. This is one reason we are reluctant to talk about the future, but it can also be because we fear others will misunderstand us.

Sooner or later, a pastor has to come to these four resolutions in order to find his way to the future.

Resolution #1: God will take care of your future.

We need to do all we can to be available to God and always do what is necessary to improve ourselves. But above all, through it all and after it all, we have to know God will take care of our future.

He has the power to put us down and he has the power to lift us up. He has the power to place us where he desires us to serve.

The bottom line, pastor, is this: God will take care of your future.

Resolution #2: Be aware of who you really…

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Warning

Can you really become an overnight success? No. Let’s be real. Actual “success” is the sum of all kinds of effort and energy over periods measured in years, not nights.

Can you lose your success overnight? Yep.

J. J. Watt said, “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.”

When someone living is described as successful, we have to remember that we’re talking about someone living through the process of becoming successful. And one of the more dangerous decisions we can make is declaring ourselves successful based on yesterday’s victories.

This principle is illustrated well by the ancient King David of Israel. When he was a kid, he defeated a lion and a bear. As a teenager, he took down Goliath. And in early adulthood, he was anointed king in the place of Saul and led his nation in great military conquests, delivering them from the oppression of the Philistines.

That’s success, right?

But in midlife, a single decision nearly ruined it all. In fact, that decision was extremely costly for David, and even more so for the people he was leading.

Here’s the story . ….

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Forgiveness is everything. Seriously, everything, especially when you realize how much you and I need it.

I’ve lived about 22,000 days. Let’s say I’ve sinned an average of four to five times a day or about once every three or so hours while awake. That would mean I’ve blown it about 100,000 times in my life so far.

Of course, you’re thinking, “No way, not Kurt; he’s much holier than that!” Or, you might truly know me and think that number is far too low!

The fact of the matter is, the Bible defines sin as missing the mark. Anytime I miss the mark of perfection, that qualifies as a sin in God’s eyes.

I think something that God would never think. Sin.

I look at something that God would never look at. Sin.

I say something God would never say. Sin.

I don’t do or say something God would do or say. Sin.

I look at a person in a way God would never view a person. Sin.

I treat my wife, children, grandchildren, family or friends in an uncaring or thoughtless way. Sin.

I pretend to be something I’m not. Sin.

I react in fear rather than respond in faith. Sin.

I act…

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Train Station Schedule Board

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30 NIV).

Timing was important to Jesus; everything in its time at just the right time. On his mission to bring you and me from death to life (Romans 6:13), he never rushed or struggled to play catch up.

He clearly worked from a different clock than everyone else. Instead of Eastern Standard Time, Jesus seemed to be on Eternal Standard Time. He never arrived late and he never arrived early; he simply arrived according to his purpose.

Jesus was born at exactly the right time to be in Bethlehem with his parents, right as the stars aligned to announce the birth of Israel’s long-awaited king. When he was older, he stayed to study Scripture in the temple, even though his parents had left for home.

When others thought he was late, Jesus arrived just in time to raise Lazarus from the dead. When his brothers wanted him to go with them to the Festival of Shelters, Jesus told them, “Go on to the festival. My time hasn’t yet come,…

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This is an exciting weekend. It is the opening weekend of The Case for Christ, a faith film releasing in over 1,100 theaters nationwide on April 7.

The Case for Christ is likely already showing in several of your favorite movie theaters starting this weekend.

If you haven’t already heard of the book The Case for Christ, it tells the story of Lee Strobel, who was an award-winning, legal editor at the Chicago Tribune in the 1980’s. Lee was an avowed atheist, but one day his wife came home to tell him she had decided to believe in Jesus. This was difficult news for him, and set him on a journey to investigate the claims of Christianity in order to prove it false, and save his wife from what he considered to be a cult.

After nearly two years of meeting with experts, and weighing the evidence, Lee concluded, as an atheist, that there was an avalanche of evidence pointing to the truth of Jesus Christ, and Lee chose to put his faith in Christ.

In 1998, he shared the story of his journey in the book The Case for Christ, which has…

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Conversation

The longer you’re a believer, the less you think like an unbeliever. After you come to Christ, your interests and values change.

Because I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, I think like a Christian. I don’t normally think like an unbeliever. Worse than that, I tend to think like a pastor, and that’s even further removed from an unbeliever’s mindset! That means I must intentionally change mental gears when seeking to relate to non-Christians.

If you look at most church advertising, it’s obvious that it was written from a believer’s viewpoint — not from the mindset of the unchurched.

When you see a church ad that announces, “Preaching the Inerrant Word of God,” what group of people do you think that ad appeals to? Certainly not to unbelievers!

Personally, I consider the inerrancy of Scripture as a non-negotiable belief, but the unchurched don’t even understand the term. If you’re going to advertise and promote your church, you must learn to think and speak like unbelievers. The spiritual terminology that’s familiar to Christians is just gibberish to the unchurched.

I’ve often heard pastors complain that unbelievers are more resistant to the Gospel today than in the past….

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Empty Tomb

Easter services are among the highest-attendance events of the year for most churches.

It’s the big event — the church’s equivalent to the NCAA Basketball National Championship Game.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people will trust their time to your church.

We often celebrate the number of people who come, but that’s not the real indicator of success. The real question is, will your guests come back?

This may be your only chance to make a good impression.

The stakes are high. So here are five tips that will help you preach an Easter sermon that brings guests back for more.

1. Serve an appetizer, not a buffet.

Think of your Easter sermon more like a gourmet appetizer at a fine restaurant than the average food you get at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The appetizer is small, but it’s filled with so much flavor that you want more.

Preaching too much information or for too long will leave a bad taste in the mouth of your guests. Don’t try to cram everything about Jesus down their throats. Instead, give them a sweet taste of Christ like they’ve never had before, so they want to come again for more.

I won’t try to…

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Clock

I have been an early riser for at least the past three decades of my life. To this very day, I still set three alarms each evening to ensure I wake up when I desire. Why is this important?

I believe there are five ways your life can improve by getting up earlier each morning.

1. You gain time in your day.

You may believe this is a “duh” point and should go without saying, but how often do you hear people give the never-ending excuse of “I don’t have time”? When you ask them what time they get up in the morning, they usually do not answer with clarity or simply state a later time in the morning.

Therefore, you gain time in your day when you get up earlier each morning. I do not believe I could do what I am given the privilege to do in life if I did not get up early each morning.

Just imagine what your morning would be like if you were to get up even just one hour earlier than you do right now. You might be able to work some things into your schedule you have…

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Josh Miller

Heading into the new year, our worship team was encouraged to write down some thoughts on our renewed focus for the year ahead. What is God putting on or planting in our heart in 2017? After thinking and praying, I felt like God was simply giving me one word: abide. It seemed too easy — maybe I missed the rest of what he was trying to say? Maybe I needed to wait longer to receive more insight? Surely God had more planned for me than to just merely abide, right? Struggling through these questions led me to John 15.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain…

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