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Book Review: Making Vision Stick

Making-Vision-Stick-Stanley-Andy-9780310283058

Book 2 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Some books are annual re-reads for me.
Some are ‘one-and-done’.
Some are every six months.
Every once and a while though I come across a book that I read as often as I can. Maybe even once a quarter.

Making Vision Stick is one of the books.
It’s great.
If you have ever lead anything and tried to lead with vision rather than your title, you need this book.

Andy Stanley take the difficult task of communicating VISION and puts it on the bottom shelf for everyone to reach.
You owe it to your team more than yourself to read this book often.

Link to purchase the book.

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Day Five: Prayer the Journey

When you are fasting, what you’re putting in is just as important as what you’re keeping out. Adding more prayer to your lifestyle is just as important as skipping meat and bread for 21 days. Without it all you’ve done is deny yourself a great hamburger.

Prayer is something most Christians avoid simply because they don’t understand it.

Here is a link to a series Real Life Church did last year. The title of the message was “Enjoying Prayer”. —-> Click here

ACTION STEPS

  • Make an effort to add at least 5 more minutes of prayer during my time of fasting.
  • Use the video below as a worship starter

RESOURCES

 

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Day Four: Journal Your Journey

How was Day Three? Stay Strong.

One of the most rewarding disciplines you can have in life is a habit of consistent journaling. Some people do it via a blog. Some keep a journal on their Ipad or computer. Some have these colorful pads with multi-colored paper inside. Still others use a regular spiral notebook. It doesn’t matter. What makes the difference is the journaling or writing of your life’s journey.
Many times I’ll look through the past years of my journal and realize how much I’ve forgotten. I didn’t remember the time when God brought a financial miracle into my life. I’d forgotten about the time when this happened or that.
It can be so encouraging.

You can see David kept something like a journal through his song writing.
World changers like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan all kept consistent journals or diaries.

In its most simple form, journaling is writing out your time on Earth. You’re spelling out your legacy. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Sometimes just a sentence will do like, “Nothing happened today.” The important thing is keeping up the habit so when life does become challenging and you need a place to vent, you pick up your pen instead of railing at the first person you see.

A journey you definitely want to remember is this one, your fasting journey. It’s great to write in it every day and watch your progress. While you’re praying, write down anything that comes to your mind as God speaks to your spirit. Write down a key verse while doing your daily Bible reading. It will cause you to look back on this time with great memories.

The journal I have chosen is called Day One Journal. This journal syncs with all my tech devices so I can write wherever I am. It doesn’t matter whether you find something online or write it out by hand. You owe it to your future self to write out the blessings and struggles you face today. It was mean more than you will ever know.

Below is an article from one of the architects of the modern journaling movement. His name is Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. He pastors an amazing church in Hawaii and leads them every year through reading their Bible and journaling every day.

Why Should I Journal?

by: Pastor Wayne Cordeiro

Some people say, “Wayne, I read the Bible, but I don’t journal. Should I journal?”
“Yes.”
“Why?”
Well, partly because in the book of Deuteronomy, God required Israel’s kings to write out all of His Word in their own handwriting, then read, every day, what they had written. He mandated this practice, He says, so that the hearts of the kings might not be lifted up above their fellowman and would not become prideful.

If God made this a daily requirement of Israel’s kings, then I think it’s not too much to ask of the King’s kids. Regular, prayerful time in the Bible keeps our hearts from straying.

How about other reasons? For one thing, journaling will help you when the tests come—and they will.

Also, as a communicator, I counsel people to journal because I know that the more you learn to write, the better your communication will be. You become better able to take tangled thoughts and articulate them. You develop the ability to compose your feelings and ideas in an effective and powerful way. When you’re called upon to stand and speak, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively because you’ve learned to write.

Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Reading maketh a full man; conference maketh a ready man; and writing maketh an exact man.” Today, we’d say that writing makes us more precise thinkers.

As you write, you become a wordsmith: “Hmm, this adjective doesn’t work; this adverb is better; this turn of a phrase is better.” Writing teaches you to do it on the fly. One practical serendipity is that one day, when you begin to speak extemporaneously, you’ll also start to wordsmith on the fly. You’ll say in your head, This phrase works better than that, and this is better than the other. In nanoseconds, you’re wordsmithing. The regular practice of journaling will be a tremendous help in developing your communication skills.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Check online for online journals
  • or Grab a notebook
  • Commit to writing down your journal entry everyday for the remainder of your fast

OTHER RESOURCES:

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Day Three: The Secret Sauce

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

How is Day Three going? I bet I can guess. No matter what you are doing, I would almost guarantee it’s not fun anymore. It’s probably been an inconvenience, a hassle, and maybe even a little uncomfortable. You may have even considered ending things. Stay strong. It’s from this point on where your journey really begins to become noticeably sweeter. (Notice I didn’t say better) In my personal fasting journey’s I’ve noticed the more of a sacrifice it is, the more I seem to get out of it. That doesn’t mean you need to try and intentionally hurt yourself. You’re simply realizing how dependent you may be on certain things. Breaking those addictions and spending the extra time with God really will make a difference.

There are THREE Secret Sauces which can help you get the most out of this time.

#1.  SECRET SAUCE- You need a plan.
If you go into a time of fasting saying, “I’m going to see how it goes” you will probably sale yourself short. I hope at this point you have a plan which you’ve thought out, discussed with those closest to you, and prayerfully considered.
You’re the most confident about fasting right after eating a really big meal. That’s why you need to think on it for a couple of days at least so you’re decision isn’t based on how you feel at the moment.  Have a plan.

#2. SECRET SAUCE- Have an accountability partner(s).
We’ll talk about this more later but you REALLY NEED to have an accountability partner to help you see this through. Someone to check in and make sure you are keeping your commitment or to tell you if it needs modification.
Last year, during the launch of Real Life Church, I made a commitment to fast without food for 21 days. My wonderful wife was my accountability partner. After about 7 days she felt I needed to modify my fast because the stress and pressure of that season was too much for someone not eating. She really helped me. I didn’t see how listless and lethargic I’d become. I modified my fast and was still able to complete the 21 days.  You need someone to take the journey with.

Also, don’t feel obligated to do too much if you’ve never fasted before. This isn’t a competition. No one wins an award for piety if you fast more than anyone else. This is about moving your life closer to God and interceding for your church and community. It might even be better to set the bar extra low so you’re sure to make it. Once you’re accustomed to fasting you can try something a little more lengthy.

#3. SECRET SAUCE- Don’t forget to pray and read God’s Word.
We’re also going to talk about these at length later on.
If you fast certain foods for 21 days but do not add prayer and God’s Word— you’re just on a diet.
If you fast media for 21 days but do not add prayer and God’s Word— you just bored.
Prayer in its most simple form is talking to God.
Reading God’s Word is Him speaking back to us.
Don’t skip it. Trust me.

Action Steps

  • Make a plan
  • If you have a plan micromanage it as much as possible. Plan meals, snacks, etc. Even plan an escape route if you have a weak moment
  • Commit to reading God’s Word at least three times a day
  • Commit to mixing in a small time of prayer
  • Don’t give up.

 

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A Good Samaritan Video

Worth Watching

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prayer|fasting
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Day Two: What Fasting Is? What It Is Not

Welcome to Day Two

How did day one go?

During the next 20 days you are going to have a lot questions and experiences with God. Some of the greatest benefits may not happen until after your fast is complete. I can’t wait to hear the stories of how God does amazing things in your personal life, family group, work atmosphere, and beyond.

At Real Life Church, we believe anything you fast can provide spiritual benefit. While fasting is mostly attributed to food, anything you do with a desire to move closer to God will be honored by Him. I personally think it would be easier to fast food for a month rather than go without my coffee and facebook updates. Maybe you’re like me. Anything you cannot do without for even a day might be something your addicted to. Wouldn’t be an awesome thing to tell God, “You’re more important to me than ______ (fill in the blank). Therefore as an act of worship I’m ________ (not going to  drink any caffeine or even look at social media) for 21 days. Instead I’m going to talk to you and drink in your Word.” WOW! Think what that could do for your relationship with God.

ACTION STEP:

Before we go any further, I think’s a good idea to define what fasting is for you and what it is not.
Below is a portion of an article about this whole topic. Check it out then take a few minutes to define exactly what you are fasting, why, and how long.

The rest of this post was taken from the Christianity section of about.com.

What Fasting Is

In many cases, a spiritual fast involves abstaining from food while focusing on prayer. This can mean refraining from snacks between meals, skipping one or two meals a day, abstaining only from certain foods, or a total fast from all food for an entire day or longer.

For medical reasons or personal preference, some people may not be able to fast from food altogether. They may choose to abstain only from certain foods, like sugar or chocolate, or from something other than food. In truth, believers can fast from anything. Doing without something temporarily, such as television or soda, as a way of redirecting our focus from earthly things toward God, can also be considered a spiritual fast.

The Purpose of Spiritual Fasting

While many people fast to lose weight, dieting is not the purpose of a spiritual fast. Instead, fasting provides unique spiritual benefits in the life of the believer.

Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer’s focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God’s help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.

What Spiritual Fasting is Not

Spiritual fasting is not a way to earn God’s favor by getting him to do something for us. Rather, the purpose is to produce a transformation in us—a clearer, more focused attention and dependence upon God.

Fasting is never to be a public display of spirituality—it is between you and God alone. In fact, Jesus specifically instructed us in Matthew 6:16-18 to let our fasting be done privately and in humility, else we forfeit the benefits.

While Old Testament fasting was a sign of mourning, New Testament believers were taught to practice fasting with a cheerful attitude.

Lastly, it should be understood, spiritual fasting is never for the purpose of punishing or harming the body.

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Day One: Deciding to be Different

Hello and welcome to Day One of Real Life Church’s:

21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Visit the church’s website (Real Life Church) for details and more about what it is and why we encourage everyone to participate.

Today is the beginning of something awesome. Taking time out of your schedule to incorporate fasting and prayer is something every Christian can benefit from. Let’s be honest though, praying isn’t the issue. We may not enjoy praying and may not really feel we know how. But we all know we need to do it in order to connect with God. The big issue is FASTING!

So what is fasting? Fasting is a spiritual discipline outlined in the Bible and endorsed by Jesus. Even Jesus fasted. Fasting is a certain amount of time we set aside to devote our attention from ourselves toward God.  We do without something for a spiritual purpose. For example, let’s say some decides they are going to fast eating for 24 hours. What does that mean? That means they have made a commitment to say no to their physical desires (eating) for a day as an act of worship to God. Instead of eating at meal times they will find a quiet place (as much as possible), pray, and read their Bible. Fasting is a great way to connect yourself to God in a deeper way.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT FASTING

-Fasting can be anything you deny yourself for a spiritual purpose.
-Fasting does not have to be food based.
-Always seek God and talk with those closest to you about what you should fast.
-Have an accountability partner.
-Know your limits.
-Fasting does not change God. It can and will change you. -Keep a journal while fasting. It enhances the experience.

The real question is this? Are you tired of being bound by issues and situations that’s had you for years? Are you sick of feeling like you cannot ever really get close to God like you want to? Do you find yourself looking at your christian experience and saying, “There must be more”? Then, why not try fasting. The Bible is full of evidence to suggest fasting places us closer to God’s presence and power.

Take the challenge. Set aside these next 21 days and test it out. See if God will not do something in your life. Over the next 21 days you’re life will change for the better. It’s a guarantee.

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21 Days of Prayer 2013

21 Days of Prayer 2013

Sunday – Our Hearts

(2 Chronicles 16:9) For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the
earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Make worship and prayer the priority of your life. Declare your complete
dependence on God. Ask for a renewed passion for His presence and
fresh revelation of His Word.

Monday – Our Purpose

(Colossians 1:28-29) We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching
everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in
Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so
powerfully works in me.

Our purpose is the Great Commission. Pray for people to be saved,
connected in a local church, discipled, and fulfilled in their ministry.

Tuesday – Our Nation, State, and City

(1 Timothy 2:1-2) I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all
those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all
godliness and holiness.

Pray for America and the leaders of our country. Pray for Kentucky and
Bowling Green. Pray  for the Governor, the state legislature, courts, mayors and other city
officials, schools, police departments, and churches.

Wednesday – Our Points of Passion

(Matthew 9:37-38) The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.Ask the Lord of the harvest,
therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Pray for our local missions efforts, national
church planting (ARC), and for our opportunities for international missions efforts.

Thursday – Our Family

(Acts 16:31) Believe in the Lord Jesus,
and you will be saved–you and your household.

Pray for God’s blessing on your family (spouse, children, grandchildren,
grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc.)

Friday – Our Needs

(Philippians 4:6-7) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Believe God for answered prayer to your specific needs (finances,
relationships, health, family members to be saved and other personal
needs.)

Saturday – Our Church

(Ephesians 3:20-21) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within
us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Pray for Real Life Church and the ministry that will take place in
2013. Pray for Pastor Brandon and his family, as well as small group leaders, and those on the Dream Team.

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New Day

This was posted on the RLC website earlier today!

On January 13th Real Life Church will holding their worship experience in a new location and at a new time!

It’s a new day!

Real Life Church launched on February 5, 2012 in the Great Escapes 12 Movie Theater.  Since then, RLC has been featured by both local and national news outlets as a church to watch.  Not afraid to be innovative and different RLC has brought new ideas to the Bowling Green area such as Flashlight Easter Egg Hunts and Church At The Movies Series. Their “dare to be real” atmosphere has been a breath of fresh air and contagious culture.  This new opportunity is sure to be something which will benefit not only RLC attenders but the Bowling Green area as well.  Join us for the celebration January 13th as Real Life Church takes the next step toward being a driving force of Hope for our city and nation.

Now here is the rest of the story.
We have loved, loved, loved meeting at the movie theater for several reasons. My favorite is it forced us to look at the church as a group of people and not a building.  It’s so easy to see church as a building and not as the true BODY of Christ. Meeting in a portable location forced us to see things more clearly.
However, being portable has had its challenges. We’ve desired to have a place of our own from the beginning. Not so we could become inward focused but so we could offer more avenues to connect with people. Our new location provides us the ability to do that.
I felt as long as we were able to be fully effective at the theater we would remain there. However, the moment we could be more effective at a more permanent location the door would open. Now it has.
The RLC teams are so excited to get to work on something we truly feel is a divine blessing from God and we can call our own.
We would love for you to join with us in making the most of this amazing opportunity.

How?
1. Pray for God’s favor for RLC and for me as pastor to make the right decisions and operate in His wisdom.
2. Partner with us financially. Click here to give to this ministry.
3. Invite, Invite, Invite. The whole purpose of moving is to reach more people. The number one way to help make this happen is for you to invite everyone you know.
4. Use your gifts and talents to make a difference in others. We want to partner with you. Come do life with us and let’s see what we can accomplish with God’s help together.

See you January 13th!

 

QUICK Q and A:

Is this the same church as Promise Church who use to meet at that location?
No. Real Life Church has been holding Sunday Morning Worship Experiences since February 5, 2012. Before that we had been holding launch team meetings since June, 2012.

When is the first worship experience at the new location?
January 13th

What time?
10:30am

Can I expect the worship experience to be different?
No. While we will be in a new environment, the style and culture will be the same.

Will you still have children’s ministry?
Absolutely

I have additional questions or would like more info. What do I do?
Email our connections team here

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Real Life Is Funnier Than Fiction Part 2

This is so funny. People are just…. hilarious.

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Real Life Is Funnier Than Fiction

You know this is funny. Don’t deny it. Just laugh.

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Books
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Book Review: Unbroken

Book 1 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

While researching for the series “HOPE” I stumbled on this book actually by accident. It was long before I was glad i did. It is one of the most riveting stories I’ve ever read about Louis Zamperini who lived the first 30 years of his life giving Job a run for the most tragic story.
Before he turned 30, Louis was:

  • a troubled young child
  • in and out of major trouble
  • became a record setting local runner and legend
  • became an Olympic athlete
  • held a word record for the mile run
  • became an army solider
  • crashed into the Pacific during WWII
  • stayed a drift for 47 days while being daily attacked by sharks and surviving Japanese air plane attacks
  • made it to land only to become an instant POW
  • tortured for info at one camp then sent to another …. then another
  • finally returning home after the war
  • getting married
  • becoming a raging alcoholic
  • almost losing his wife and child

All before turning 30. However, one night all that changed. As so many did who attended a Billy Graham evangelistic campaign, he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ. He began to recover from so many set backs and even eventually traveled to Japan, found the guards who had once tortured him, and forgave them personally.

Such an amazing story.

Below is a YouTube video and part one in a series of interviews Louis gave. I highly recommend this book if you want to read a story about a man who simply would not give up. It also illustrates the amazing love of God toward us all.
Louis can say just as Joseph did, “What you intended for evil, God made it good.” -Genesis

[vsw id=”I9O5yVzc0vQ” source=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”340″ autoplay=”no”] [vsw id=”xax7l-bDJKg” source=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”340″ autoplay=”no”]
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