Moving My Blog

Hello everyone,

I will now be blogging and posting on my new website found at:

http://www.AdamBRClarke.com

Look forward to connecting with all of you there.

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Quote from Timothy Keller “Preaching”

However, while the difference between a bad sermon and a good sermon is mainly the responsibility of the preacher, the difference between good preaching and great preaching lies mainly in the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the listener as well as well as the preacher. The message in Philippi came from Paul, but the effect of the sermon on the hearts came from the Spirit.

Timothy Keller – Preaching

This morning I started Timothy Keller’s book Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism. I will be posting more on the book but so far I really love the break down of the three levels of Word ministry.

Digging Deeper with Jr. High Kids

Some great advice on how to did deeper with Jr. High students.

Leverage your Influencers
There is always ‘that kid’ in your group. The one that seems to set the tone. The one everyone takes their cue from. You might have more than one. And that can be helpful. But there is usually at least one.

Rather than leaving their response to chance, you could shoulder tap that kid and challenge them to really contribute to this conversation. In fact, you think so highly of them, you want them to share first on a particular topic. Then give them the question and allow them time to consider their answer. Leverage their influence by leading them to set the right tone for group discussion.

– See more at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/going-deeper-with-tweens/#sthash.TLHZ8scV.dpuf

Seven Essentials To Creating Ministry Partnerships That Last | Orange Leaders

Check out this awesome article from the Orange Leaders Blog.

Here are the actionable steps to consider for your future partnerships:

Trust who you work with.

Articulate the purpose or reason for the partnership.

Set clear and measurable expectations.

Create a written actionable plan.

Follow through on your commitments.

Leave money on the table.

Pray.

via Seven Essentials To Creating Ministry Partnerships That Last | Orange Leaders.

The Lead Small Culture Book Club

I am really excited to start this new year off by joining many other kidmin and youth min. leaders (last time I checked it was over 900), as we read through Creating A Lead Small Culture together through an online book club. I have already read through this book once fully and the second time was a brief synopsis for another leader in a smaller church looking to implement Orange philosophy and the 252 Basics curriculum into their program. The book is full of great tips on how to connect your leaders with the kids they serve on a deeper level and how they can partner with parents so that together they can create more opportunities for spiritual development and deeper understandings on how God is at work in their lives everyday.

Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere.

Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their kids and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids and teens to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

Here is how my next eight weeks are looking.

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As I started Session One today I have already had a couple questions jump out at me and cause me to strongly reflect how Life Groups (We use Life Groups instead of Small Groups in the hopes that these groups will continue to grow together and do life together), function in our kidmin department.

The very first question is a tough one for many leaders because they simply want kids and parents to attend everything possible that happens within the church walls.

If kids only show up at church one time a week and experience one environment or participate in one activity, where would you tell them to go?

Wowzers, yep they said what every leader dreads to ask, or even think about. The thought that a family or a child might only pick one of the many great things that your ministry does. I have been wrestling with this question for months now:

How do we plan our ministries better to help families leverage their time together so that they spend more time as a family?

Think about it:

Kids ministry is one day, or night,
Youth Ministry is on one or two other nights.
Men’s ministry happens,
Women’s Ministry is another,
and church is on Sundays,

oh yeah don’t forget about after school activities and extra curricular activities.

Add all those days up and well you have one very exhausted and overwhelmed family.

Your greatest asset to building faith in the next generation is not your Bible study, worship band, facilities, or budget. The most valuable resources you have to help people see God are the people in your church who know God. (pg. 33)

How do you react to that statement? With relief? Hesitation? Excitement? Explain Why?

What are your biggest obstacles when trying to connect every kid with a consistent adult leader?

What are some of your ideas so far for overcoming those obstacles?

Those are the main questions that I am going to be wrestling with this week. I want nothing more for my kids in our kidmin than for them to experience God through the caring adults that are in their lives. That is how they will understand who God is, how we works in their lives, and how He loves them unconditionally. By learning about God in a relational context I hope that our kids learn about a relational God that wants to have a consistent two-way relationship with them.

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The Continued Crucifying Of Rob Bell, And What It Says About The State Of Modern Christianity

A great article that is very much worth the read.

Rob Bell’s sin, was simply that he didn’t stick to the script.

 

He deviated. He dared to ask questions. He challenged the status quo. He moved against the grain.

 

He went rogue and everything went South, (or rather, went to Hell).

 

 

The Continued Crucifying Of Rob Bell, And What It Says About The State Of Modern Christianity.

The Truth About Kids And Social Media – Speaker’s Spotlight Blog

 

The benefits that Amy Jo Martin points out in her must-read book, Renegades Write The Rules may surprise you – it’s an important read for anyone trying to understand social media.

As most of us already know, there are clear downsides with kids using social media and this topic has been covered for years. Cyberbullying, privacy , and identity theft are only a few negatives that should be considered. Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them. The physical world is similar to the virtual world in many cases. It’s about being aware. We can prevent many debacles if we’re educated.

Question: What are the benefits of kids using social media?

via Speakers’ Spotlight – The Truth About Kids And Social Media.

Equipping Parents to Create Traditions | Orange Leaders

We have been having the same conversations about this in our #kidmin leadership meetings lately. I am super excited about what we have coming in the months ahead to resource and equip parents.

 

Also, it’s OUR job to PARTNER with parents by helping equip them! I believe that all parents want to create traditions or rituals for their kids, but honestly it takes time—and parents are busy and they need help. That’s where we, the church, come in. Now, I’m not saying to plan ANOTHER event! Filling up a family’s calendar does NOT help an already busy family. What if we gave them resources and ideas like maybe a Pinterest board and use social media to send out ideas, about ways families could celebrate events like the first day of school, FAMILY Friday nights, Sunday night family dinner, etc., and help them to start creating traditions for their own family.

 

via Equipping Parents to Create Traditions | Orange Leaders.

RePost: Media Journal – Home by Foo Fighters

*This was a post I originally wrote two years and as I was listening to this song this morning on my commute to work I was taken right back to all these thoughts and connections.


I mentioned in my last post that I have been writing in a media journal since I have finished ‘The Day Metallica Came To Church and I thought I would go over how this has helped me formulate teaching series. I have also found that the songs that have been sticking in my head when I hear them often have to do with something that is going on in my life whether it is evident to me at the time, or not.

Here are the notes that I had made for the song Home by Foo Fighters off their album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

First, I start by writing out the lyrics from the song down the middle of the page. As I journal I have the song playing on repeat to listen for those key lines that speak louder than the rest.

Wish I were with you

I couldn’t stay

Every direction

Leads me away

Pray for tomorrow

But for today

All I want is to be home

Stand in the mirror

You look the same

Just lookin’ for shelter

From cold and the pain

Someone to cover

Safe from the rain

All I want is to be home

Echoes and silence

Patience and grace

All of these moments

I’ll never replace

No fear of my heart

Absence of faith

All I want is to be home

Ooh

All I want is to be home

People I’ve loved

I have no regrets

Some I remember

Some I forget

Some of them living

Some of them dead

All I want is to be home 

Secondly, I turn to by Bible. This is an interesting point as I was on a Lead 222 Leaders Talk yesterday Walt Mueller was talking about how starting the day with a paper in one hand and a Bible in the other was key to how he looks at today’s culture while keeping a biblical worldview. That is how this step works for me.

For example, when I first starting hearing this song speak to me and stay in my mind I was drawn to Luke 15:11-32 and the Parable of the Lost Son. I’ll read the story twice and look to see if there are any tangible connecting points. When I find them I bring out the crayons and start to make a mind map between the lyrics and the Words of God.

It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

For me I saw a connection between the words, ‘Wish I were with you / I couldn’t stay / Every direction /

Leads me away / Pray for tomorrow / But for today / All I want is to be home, and the passage found in Luke 15:12-16. In both instances we have someone that has left where they were and then longed for a return. I also like the ‘Pray For Tomorrow’ line as it speaks towards searching for a way out of the situation that is beyond our own understanding and lies only in the power of prayer. ‘But For Today,‘ there is a longing to return home to the life that was left behind.

“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

Verses 17-20 speak of the change the son wants to make within his own situation. I saw a parallel with the third verse, ‘Patience and grace / All of these moments / I’ll never replace / No fear of my heart /Absence of faith.‘ Each one of us comes to a point where we come to our senses and realize that we need to make a decision that is practical whether that is moving forward towards ‘home,‘ or turning away from sin. However the moments that we have gone through will never be replaced, but they will teach us something about ourselves and shape the future that we are moving towards.

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

The second verse of the song, (‘Stand in the mirror / You look the same / Just lookin’ for shelter / From cold and the pain / Someone to cover / Safe from the rain / All I want is to be home’), for me spoke of the way the father speaks of his son in his return. Even though the son sees himself as a different person the father welcomes back his son without question. He recognizes his son right away and gives him shelter, clothes and food, the very thing the son was longing for. Their could have been a disowning, or a beating based on the culture of the time for the son in the story, but the Father went against the cultural norm and gave his son a welcoming and loving embrace while saying, ‘Welcome home son.” I love how Mark Driscoll explains the grace that is given in this instance,

Now some of you say, “He doesn’t deserve that!” That’s grace. Grace is unmerited. Grace is undeserved. Romans tells us that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. This dad is going to be kind and gracious to this boy, and that kind grace is going to continue to change him. It’s the same kind grace that caused him to come home. It will compel him to continue with his father.

I have always found it interesting what songs stick out to me on albums and when this song resented more than the others I was intrigued. It is the slowest and softest on the album with a prominent piano accompaniment that makes it extremely memorable. However, I do think that it is the story within the song that keeps it in my memory. There are many stories at work here a story of growth, a story of wanting acceptance, a story of wanting comfort a story that can only be felt through a loving embrace. The Parable Of The Lost Son is all of these stories with a direct teaching point. Grace is given to us through repentance and a death of ourselves. Through that we are given an eternal home that we are all longing and living for.

This is where my next step would come. I would look at the words or themes most common in the media source and reference as many verses that come to mind. For this song the word I focused on was ‘home,‘ so I looked for verses that spoke into the theme of going home.

I looked at the story of Abraham being called by God to leave his home and to move on to a home that was being prepared for him and his descendants.

Gen. 12:1 – God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. (Message)


I also looked at the promises that God made to Jacob.

Gen. 31:3 – That’s when God said to Jacob, “Go back home where you were born. I’ll go with you.”  (Message)

Here are some other verses that I came across.

Isa. 35:8-7 There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It’s for God’s people exclusively— impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals— Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it. The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night. 

I was also amazed by the amount of verses that spoke of Jesus teaching, or healing someone and then sending them home to spread the news of what had happened in their life. For example,

Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave—too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him. (Luke 8:37-39) 

Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, “Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say ‘I forgive your sins,’ or to say ‘Get up and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: “Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, “We’ve never seen anything like that!” (Luke 5:22-26) 


There is also the story of the ‘Lost Sheep’ in Luke 15:4-7

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. 

Ephesians tells us of the new home Jesus is building within us all.

That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

1 Peter 2:11-12 tells us that this world is not our home at all.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.

This idea of longing for a home has been built and nurtured within us by a loving Father. God wants us all to follow him to our eternal home and just like the song by the Foo Fighters we all find those moments where we have lost ourselves and wondered away from the home we are longing for. However as the ‘Parable of the Lost Son’ teaches us our heavenly Father has given us the gift of grace that allows us to repent of our lost ways and to return to his loving embrace.

This has been my journalling journey that I have been on. The entries are not everyday, but when they are I get to enjoy the words of God both in the Bible and in the world that is happening around me.