Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hey, Brother!

It’s happening to me more and more.  Everybody tells me it just goes with growing older.  I hope that is not an easy excuse for it.  What am I talking about?  Remembering someone’s name.

I talk to many people in church weekly, perhaps I talk to you every week and then it happens.  We bump into each other at the grocery store and panic hits.  I can’t remember your name.  I act like I know your name, know you well, but my mind is blank.

So what can one do to get better with remembering names?  Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be a genius.  Everyone can remember names if they work at it.  Most of us just don’t know how.  So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.  Remember, you have to work at these.

Step One:  Repeat names.  Repetition builds memory.  When you meet someone for the first time say their name as much as possible.

Step Two:  Read names.  Read a person’s name in your mind.  Visualize it.  Spell it in your head.

Step Three:  Record names.  Write new names down as soon as possible.  Add a note by the name like, “tall, blonde, salesman, works at…”  Keep a database or application with people’s names in it.  Review it occasionally.

Step Four:  Relate names.  Our minds remember images, not words.  Turning a person’s name into an image is the best way to instantly recall it.  Let’s say you meet John Baker – imagine an actual baker in a kitchen putting a toilet (a john) in the oven.  It may sound bizarre but it works.

Step Five:  Remember to remember names.  I know what you’re saying, “Duh!”  Most often, the reason we don’t remember names is simply because we do not consciously make an effort.  We hear the name, but we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say next.

If you think you can’t do all five steps at least concentrate on step four.  If all else fails just honestly say, “I’m sorry, my mind is having a relapse, I forgot your name.”  When they say it, go through the steps.  You only get to use that line one per person.  Have fun remembering names.


P.S. Ever lied and gotten away with it?  Ever been overlooked by others?  Need to extend some forgiveness to someone who has wronged you?  Would your friends say of you, “She is a person of integrity”?  We will be addressing some of these questions this Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00.  Bring a friend and discover how to be a person everybody trusts.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I read a blog this week from Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church located in California.  He stated that people who have made the greatest impact on this world, for good or bad, are those who had the deepest convictions.  Influencers are not necessarily, the brightest, most educated, wealthiest or most famous, but people of conviction.

This him to say if you’re going to build conviction in your life, you need to build on something that lasts.  Fads change, technology changes, textbooks change as we learn more and more, etc., but the one thing that never changes is the truth of God.  (Take a moment and read Isaiah 40:8)

The church needs to be built on God’s eternal Word.  Here are six convictions of Saddleback Church that are the same convictions we have at First Free.
1.        It’s all about God.  Not you. Not me.  But God.  It’s not about profit, policies or anything else.  Romans 11 reminds us “For everything comes from God alone.  Everything lives by His power.  And everything is intended for His glory.”  He desires to be loved and worshiped above everything else.
2.        Only His church will last forever.  No business, government, nation can claim that.  Jesus said, “I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”  (Matthew 16:18)  The church is worth giving our time – our treasures – our talents – our entire life to.
3.        God expects me to love everybody else, too.  Mark 12 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself;” that means the unlovely, the difficult, the dangerous, the different, even our enemies. (Luke 6:35)
4.        The whole world needs Jesus.  If the world needs Jesus let’s not keep the Good News about Him secret.  We have the cure for the most dreaded disease of all - sin.  Christ came to die for sinners.  This truth ought to change our priorities – not living for myself – but living for Jesus.  (Read Romans 5:8)
5.        Everything is possible with God. (Read Matthew 19:6) Stop saying, “I can’t.” With God at work in you – you can do amazing things.  God gets the most glory when we trust Him for the impossible.
6.        History’s conclusion is inevitable.  One day, hopefully soon, God’s going to wrap it all up here on earth and He’s going to take His children who’ve trusted in Him to heaven forever and ever.  Knowing this we ought to desire to get everybody we can into the kingdom of heaven, where they are going to be for eternity.

May these six convictions compel us all at First Free. Through living out these convictions God gets the glory.


P.S. Work for a horrible boss?  Is your workplace corrupt?  What are you to do if you are in that kind of situation?  Don’t miss Sunday 9:15 or 11:00 as we uncover and discover the answer to these questions.  Communion will be served.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is your "hot button" an essential or a non-essential?

There is a phrase that is commonly attributed to Augustine that goes like this:  In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity (love).  I wish this simple little statement would be put into practice for all Christ followers.

Rick Warren pastor of Saddleback church and author of The Purpose Drive Life states it a little differently.  He says that every church needs to identify its absolutes, convictions, and preferences.

Absolutes (essentials) are those things that we will die for no matter the cost such as, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus, the trinity and the inspiration of Scripture.

Convictions are those things that devoted followers have disagreed on for 2,000 years: When does the rapture occur (pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post tribulation or pre-wrath)?  Is speaking in tongues necessary in todays’ church, or Calvinism vs. Arminianism?  Honestly, at First Free we have people in all the aforementioned.  Here is where we must be advocates for liberty.

Preferences: style of music, what clothes to wear to church, lighting (bright or darker), can I have a glass of wine at dinner or not, loudness of music, colors, symbols, cross, communion table, podium or pulpit, candles, etc.

Here is my observation of what happens in most churches.  Somebody want to make essentials – non-essentials, and non-essentials, essentials.

Then, we want to fight about it.  I have never had anybody in my 38 years of ministry fight with me over the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement or the trinity.  But I have had more that I can count of people picking a fight with me over musical style, colors, and loudness of music, lighting, pulpits, dress and other preferences.

I am reminding all of us there is an absolute (essential) bucket we must submit to and make our guiding compass.  At the same time our personal life choices and desires should not be made into the guiding compass which often is the case.

Love in all things strengthens the church.  No matter what we may believe, there is no excuse for lovelessness toward one another.

Have you identified the essentials? The non-essentials? “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”


P.S. How can I have influence in my job (assignment) when I am not the CEO?  How do you lead from the middle?  Don’t miss the answer to these questions this Sunday at 9:45 or 11:00.  Bring a friend and join us.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Procrastination Excuse

This weeks’ Freshly Bru’d is committed to those of us who wait until the last minute to accomplish something.  (Like writing this blog.)  In other words, I want to talk about procrastination.  And for those of you who say, “I work best under pressure” you are just excusing what in reality is procrastination.

Most of us know what we need to do, we just put it off.  The problem with procrastination is that it becomes a way of life.  The more you do it, the better you become at it.  Some are actually professional procrastinators.

‘I know the things I ought to do, and I don’t do them.’  Why?  Indecision causes procrastination.  Indecision causes you to postpone buying a car, choosing a college, getting married, buying new clothes, ordering off the menu at a restaurant (read James 1:8).

‘If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.’  Why?  Perfectionism causes procrastination.  Remember you don’t have the time or the money for things to be perfect.

‘When you are afraid you tend to put things off.’  Why?  Fear causes procrastination.  Ever postponed going to the dentist, having a surgery, sharing your faith.  Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”

So if I struggle with procrastination how do I stop it?  Let me share three helpful things.  First, stop making excuses especially the one that goes like this, ‘I’ll get to it when things settle down.’  They are never going to settle down.  We live in a rat race society.

Second, start today.  Not tomorrow, next week, next year (read Proverbs 21:1).  Since we are not guaranteed a tomorrow you need to say, “I’ll do it today.”  Start right now.

Third, create a schedule and stick to it.  Write on the calendar the things you need to accomplish and when they need to be accomplished.  Don’t divert from the schedule.  Git er done!  If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail (read Proverbs 13: 16 and Galatians 6:9).  Concentrate on how good you’re going to feel once you’ve finished the task.  Look at the gain not the pain.


P.S. Invite a friend day is here!  Ask a friend to join you this Sunday as we look at the secret to finding more meaning in your work.  Everybody has a job, not a vocation, but a job.  Don’t miss, Beyond 9 to 5: Transforming the Way You Work.