Month: February 2014

4 Essential Ingredients for Growing in Faith

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We all sat around in the circle. 

Students and young adults sharing about everything that God had spoken to their hearts.
The weekend retreat was coming to a close.

“I want to grow spiritually”
“I need to pray more”
“When I get home, I will read my Bible more”
“We need accountability”

Conviction emerged from their eyes with tears.
Compassion flowed as a middle school boy brought a box of tissue to an older high school boy.

Many of them came into that weekend filled with discouragement and disappointment.

  • One student was on the verge of giving up on her faith.
  • Another young adult is in the midst of a hard transition between churches while balancing a painful family situation.
  • Others in college were wavering in their commitment because of pressure and temptation.

As I listened to what each student learned, I was struck by their honesty, their tears, their confessions.

As their guest speaker for the weekend, my aim was to simply encourage the group.

What I heard in that circle could be summarized simply in 5 words:
“DO more to GROW more”.

Good intentions.
Good ideas.
Unfortunately, it is bad theology.

Growth doesn’t always happen because we do more.
In fact, doing more in the midst of discouragement can actually result in less health, more dysfunction and greater frustration.

Healthy things grow.
Unhealthy things die.
Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is nothing.
Instead we must simply be. Just be.

In the midst of what could inevitably lead to more discouragement, I spoke up with more words of encouragement.

Here’s a paraphrase of what I said (more or less):

I hear the sniffling and see the tears. We were all honest about our own stuff this weekend. And I know you all want to do more when you get home.

But growth doesn’t always happen like that.

All the ingredients God uses to grow are right here, and we don’t need to do anything more to force it to happen.

These are four important ingredients that I see God using to help us grow.

1) CRAP (aka manure, fertilizer, dirt, soil)

manure_happens

Sin stinks. It always does. Like crap.

And we all reek of it.

But the good news is that God is a great gardener. He is able to take our crap and make things grow from it.

The problem is that we sometimes keep our crap inside, deep and unexcreted (is that even a word?)

And that leads to bigger problems.

Human waste needs to be crapped out. Fecal matter that piles up inside makes us sick and unhealthy. We are always better off releasing it.

As in the physical, so in the spiritual.

We are able to release our sin because of the Cross of our Savior.
He has taken upon Himself the sin of mankind and imparted and imputed to us His perfect sinless identity.

Our rags for His righteousness
Our crap for His crown.
Our sin for His salvation.

It’s beautiful when good stuff grows in the fertile manure of our mistakes.

 

2) TRUTH (aka seeds, Scripture, The Bible, The Word of God)

Planting of vegetable seeds in prepared soil

Into that soil, God plants His truth.

Eternal wisdom. Life-giving truth.

This is not truth that comes from our own opinions.

This is truth from the source of all Truth. God Himself.

Jesus called Himself the Truth. He is the Word made flesh.

And as a seed dies and springs forth with vines and branches, so the Word of God, Jesus Himself has brought us truth in Himself.

Words alone are not enough.

The Words must always point us to the Word made flesh.

Jesus is the goal of the entire Old and New Testament.
He is the main character of the Big Story. 

Let His story inform your story.
He is a much better Author and Perfecter than we will ever be.
His words are eternal.
His words bring life.

 

3) TEARS (aka water, H20)

tears

Pain.
Heartache.
Disappointment.
Discouragement.

We cry. And Jesus weeps with us.

And He waters the soil of our hurts with his own tears.

He drenches the drought-stricken ground of our brokenness with meaning and purpose.

And we feel His love seep into the roots below.

The layers that were thought to be too-far lost are revived with Living Water.

Healing Rain.

Grace abounds where rule-keeping has failed.
Love washes over the lost. The loss.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Our tears are transformed into dew that springs life into the withering leaves.

Vibrant.
Verdant.
Resurrecting life again.

Tears are never wasted when they are mingled with meaning and purpose
Pain is redeemed when we discover He is near, sharing in our hurts.
Suffering with and for us.
By His wounds…we are healed.

4) SUNLIGHT (aka JESUS, the Son of God)

JesusSun

Stuff grows better in the sunlight, not in the shade.

Not in the shadows.

Hebrews 10 describes the Old Testament laws as merely “shadows” of something much greater
…someONE much greater: The Son of God is the light of the world.

Grace and truth are found in Jesus who is full of both.

He is the source of life and He is able to take our ingredients and make something beautiful from them.

When our crap is exposed and cultivated in the soil…

When the seeds of truth are planted deep in the fertile ground…

When the water of God’s grace and the water of our tears drench the dirt and mingle with seeds cracked open…

…Then JESUS does his thing!

Hear what the Apostle Paul wrote about growth:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted,Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor 3:5-9)

When God does His thing, growth happens.

And it takes time. Lots of time. And patience.

Sometimes months.
Sometimes years.
Sometimes decades.

All of these ingredients mixed together are a healthy combination of what God uses to grow our faith.
We simply give it over to Him.

He’s the gardener.
He’s the grower.

Let’s simply abide in the vine (John 15) and trust Him to grow us from the inside out.

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BOOK REVIEW: Love & Respect in the Family: The Respect Parents Desire, The Love Children Need (Emerson Eggerichs)

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With a 2.5 year old son running around (ahem running) our house, my wife and I are in deep need of as many resources to help with our parenting. Theologically, practically, behaviorally, all of the above please!

I was familiar with Dr. Eggerichs original title, LOVE & RESPECT. Adding “in the Family” made me a little wary at first, as though three simple words could transfer the concepts so easily. What drew me in was the addition of anecdotes about and testimonies from his own grown children. They would be honest and tell the brutal truth to see if the secret sauce of Love & Respect worked for them.

Call me a skeptic.

I enjoyed the family photos and commentary from Dr. Eggerich’s daughter, Joy (who is hilarious).

The acronym G-U-I-D-E-S is provided as a way to remember 6 simple (but complex) principles of Love & Respect for raising children

1. Give
2. Understand
3. Instruct
4. Discipline
5. Encourage
6. Supplicate

Still, while there is no silver bullet (and never will be) for solving all of the behavioral challenges of parenting a 2-going-on-16 year old, I appreciated this resource greatly.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

San Francisco COACHING WORKSHOP (March 1) – Registration Open

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Register now for the upcoming Kingdom Professionals Coaching Workshop

Saturday, March 1, 2014
10am-12noon

@ New Life Church of the Nazarene
300 Ulloa St (on Knockash Hill)
San Francisco, CA 94127

Cost $10 per person
Register ONLINE: http://bit.ly/CoachingNewLife2014

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Find Your Strengths for Free

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I’m a fan of FREE.
I’m a fan of working in your strengths.

So I finally checked out Tom Rath’s #1 New York Times best seller “Strengths Finder 2.0” from the library.

I’m a fan of the library, too.
They’ve given me a ton of free reads.
Best use of my tax-payer dollars. 

Sadly, the online assessment code in the back of the book was already scratched and used.
I knew it would be. 

But thankfully, someone out there in the interwebs developed something similar for FREE.
Though it is probably not endorsed by the Strengths Finder people, it seems pretty useful and close to what I was hoping to find out.

Before taking the test, my personal guesses were: 1) Input, 2) Learner, 3) Relator, 4) Activator, 5) Significance

After taking the test, my results were: 1) Significance, 2) Learner, 3) Belief, 4) Communication, 5) Input — (Activator-13, Relator-18)

 

Take the assessment as a free version here – http://freestrengthsfinder.workuno.com/1-free-strengthsfinder-test.html

Post your results in the comments.

GO!

Are Good Intentions Enough?

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THE ROAD PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
We all know about that symbolic road paved with good intentions, and where it leads, right? Well, if you don’t, then simply Google it.
Hint: It’s not a good place to be. 
Are you tired of having good intentions that lead nowhere?
Are you ready to take those good intentions–the ones that God purposely planted in you–and make something good come out of them?
Coaching helps people move from simply having good intentions towards doing something about them.
Coaching is a unique tool that helps people discover practical ways to achieve their goals (big and small), and experience the kind of outcomes that satisfy our hearts and glorify God.
I have personally experienced the impact of coaching in my own ministry involvement, from learning how to ask more insightful questions tobecoming an engaged listener to empowering and encouraging immediate action.

 

A LITTLE BACKGROUND
My first touch with coaching happened while I was taking classes at Western Seminary a few years ago.
I was completely blindsided by the impact that this class would have on my preparation to become a pastor.
I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of the need for a coaching class in a seminary. After all, wasn’t I supposed to learn how to read and teach the Bible? Why would anyone need to take a coaching class to become a pastor?
While I still believe that a great theological education is (and always will be) crucial, I discovered that having the tools to connect ideas to action was just as important.
Let me repeat that: Having the tools to connect ideas with action IS just as important!
 
This is how coaching destroyed my skepticism!
You see, ideas alone will die in isolation. Even the best ideas.
I discovered how the coaching relationship provides a healthy dose of powerful questions that lead people to gain increased clarity. Combine that with enough space to think and be heard without interruption. Add to that a strategic relationship with a coach who partners as the key vehicle to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
Coaching relationships are dynamic and bring life to the process…and progress is made! Ideas that lead to action.
This is extremely important in the workplace.
This is especially crucial in ministry.
Think about it.
  • What would it be like to hear someone asking you more powerful questions?
  • What would change if you had the space and bandwidth to think out loud without interruption?
  • What would happen if you were challenged to just do something about it?
Every idea gains traction. Every relationship wins.
Since then, as a coach with a pastor’s heart, I have had the joy of partnering with clients and co-laborers in Christ’s kingdom.
I have watched people discover and develop into amazing disciples.
I have witnessed people go from discouragement to confidence.
I have seen, time and time again, that glorious “AHA!” moment occur, the one where an idea finally clicks and the fog becomes clear.
The smile on their face confirms that they can — AND THEY WILL — do it!

 

WORKSHOPS FOR YOU
I am hosting these 4 Coaching Workshops built around 3 different themes:
  • Relationships
  • Leadership 
  • Workplace
I guarantee that you will discover some applicable skills that you can immediately put into action.
In fact, each of these workshops is designed with interaction and participation in mind.
A live coaching demonstration will be presented, along with a Q&A session.
Most importantly, each participant will have the opportunity to implement what they have learned right away!

 

REGISTER NOW
Here is a link to all of the registration information you’ll need.
Check which dates and locations will suit you best.
(Mar 1, SF or Mar 7-8, Castro Valley)
NOTE: Register by Feb 15th for EARLY BIRD SAVINGS for the San Francisco Event. (That’s about 1 week away)
This weekend, would you please announce this or share this email  with other key leaders? I’m trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. Your help is totally appreciated.
I look forward to serving you soon!
With gratitude,
Pira Tritasavit,
Kingdom Professionals Coaching
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KID PRESIDENT’s “Letter to a Person on their First Day Here”

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Kid President does it again!

Q: What would you add to the list?