Is your life your message?

message

My life is my message.

I love this quote from Ghandi. It’s the more poetic form of the well know saying that actions speak louder than words. Don’t get me wrong: we need words, absolutely. I’m not a big fan of the ‘we should preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary’ attitude.

We always need words, because you cannot explain the Gospel without words. You cannot teach the Bible without words. Jesus Himself used words to explain the Kingdom of God.

But words alone are not enough. [Read more…]

Visualize your priorities with red, yellow and green

Traffic light for bikes.

Prioritizing is of crucial importance, especially when your to do list is overflowing, as most of ours are. We’ve discussed several methods of prioritizing so far:

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to come up with a way to visualize your priorities, so you can see at once which tasks have priorities and which don’t. Again, there are several ways to do this:

  • Put the high priority tasks at the top of your list
  • Categorize by A (high priority), B (medium priority) or C (low priority)
  • Use an app like Evernote to separate high, medium and low priority tasks

[Read more…]

Youth Sermon Idea: Psalm 84

youth sermon topics

Psalm 84 is best known for the famous worship song Matt Redman has written: Better is one day. It’s a Psalm with a great message for teens that will help them find a place of belonging, a home with God.

Bible passage: Psalm 84

Key message: Home is with God

Synopsis: The question of where our home is, is an interesting one for many people. Is home the place where you were born, the place where you live, the place you long for, or something else? One thing is certain, as Christians our real home is not here. As Larry Norman once put it, we’re ‘only visiting this planet’. Our real home is with God. [Read more…]

Conquering ourselves

Mountains

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re usually right.”

Henry Ford said those words and I have to agree with them. I am often my own worst enemy and my ‘inner dialogue’ is not helpful a lot of the times, as I struggle with low self esteem.

“It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.”

It’s why Sir Edmund Hillary’s quote rings so true to me. I don’t know if you recognize his name, but he was the first man to climb Mount Everest together with Tenzing Norgay and Hillary climbed many mountains after that. I have no intention of trying to climb Everest (though one never knows – I;ve certainly grown to love hiking the last year), but I think he’s right. No matter how hard the task before us, it’s not the task that we have to conquer, it’s ourselves.

If we keep telling ourselves we can’t do something, that we’re just not good enough, not holy enough, not old enough or wise enough or whatever enough…then we’ll never do it.

In what area do you have to conquer yourself?

Mountains

Helping youth thrive

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It’s not often that you encounter people with the passion for youth of Peter Benson. His whole TED Talk titled ‘How youth thrive’ shows his love for young people and it encouraged me.

Peter Benson is not a youth pastor however; he’s a psychologist who does research amongst young people on their ‘spark’. By ‘spark’ he means a skill, a cause or a quality that makes people thrive, that makes them happy and whole.

In his talk, he shares some interesting statistics. Right now, there are 80 million young people aged 8-18 in the US. But only 25% of these 80 million are on a pathway to human thriving (meaning being happy, connected, kind, contributing, etc.) and the rest has fallen behind. They are lost, confused, medicated and alone. Those statistics should give anyone involved in youth work food for thought. [Read more…]

Setting priorities with the INO System

family

You can’t do it all. You know that deep down, but still you try. We all do. As youth workers, our to do list is often unending and things we cross off at the top, are being replaced just as quickly at the bottom.

That means we have to choose what we do. We have to set priorities and work according to these.

We’ve talked about two ways of defining priorities before: the 80/20 rule and Covey’s time management matrix. But on the Harvard Business Review Blog, I came across another method that you can use to decide how much time to invest in something: the INO system. [Read more…]

How the Zeigarnik Effect can help you battle procrastination

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We all have those tasks on our to do list that we just can set ourselves to do. Sometimes it’s because we don’t like doing this (for me, making phone calls is a biggie since for some reason I really dislike calling people), sometimes it’s because the task is so big we just don’t know where to start or it may be that we wonder how we’re ever going to finish it.

Whatever the task is that you dread doing, chances are it will results in big time procrastination. So how do you get yourself to do the things you dread, especially if they are bigger tasks that require more time?

The solution is as simple as can be: just start. If you just take that first step, the rest won’t be as hard. [Read more…]

Reading and teaching the Bible as more than soundbites

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This video shows why N.T. Wright is such an influential theologian at the moment. In just seven minutes he explains how you should read the Bible: as a whole, not as a collection of soundbites. His analogy of listening to only a part of a symphony instead of the whole thing is as brilliant as it is understandable. I also love that he especially wants to challenge students to read the whole Bible, whole books and not just verses and soundbites.

 

N.T. Wright on How to read the Bible

(embedding was disable for this video, so you’ll have to watch it on YouTube)

[Read more…]

Your greatest path of influence with teens

love

As youth workers, we are striving to make an impact on the life of teens. Ultimately, out goal is to make them into devoted followers of Jesus. But how do we get them there?

Programs?

Bible studies?

Sermons?

Discipleship?

Small groups?

I think these all have their place. But sometimes we focus so much on these, that we forget our greatest path of influence with teens: love. Unconditional, selfless, Christ-like love. [Read more…]

Get more done with Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule

hour glass

For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a productivity tip called Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule. It’s a ‘system’ designed by famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz that allowed him to write many books, successful ads and much more in just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. So I gave this rule a test drive and I have to say the results have been far better than I expected: I’ve worked more focused and gotten more work done in less time.

Intrigued?

[Read more…]