Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Significant Cause of Failure in Ministry

I attended a workshop this week for further development in the areas of training and consulting. One of the instructors is an extremely accomplished businessman, consultant, professor, and researcher. A portion of his instruction was devoted to causes of business failure.

Research was cited during one session that was both enlightening and alarming. According to said research, the underlying causes of business failure in the U.S. are as follows:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Blessings and Benefits of Marriage

The Bible teaches us that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman that was designed and ordained by God. In a successful Christian marriage the participants enter into a life-long covenant and commitment with one another and, together, with God. Because God instituted marriage and is, Himself, a part of the marital covenant with the couple there are many blessings and benefits that a faithfully married couple enjoy.

Indeed, the Bible promises us that a healthy marriage fulfills our basic needs for human companionship, intimacy, mutual assistance, and sexual expression (Gen. 2.18; Eph. 5.25; Heb 13.4). When the traditional marriage is the basis for reproduction, family nurturing and development, the result is a stable society and blessings upon men, women, and children (Gen. 2; Deu. 6.4-7; Eph. 6.4). In short, the traditional marriage is a gift from God!

Given the Bible's clear teaching, positive message, and wonderful promises regarding marriage, it should come as no surprise to us that social research confirms the many benefits associated with this marvelous institution. Below are just a few of the wonderful benefits of traditional marriage in America that have been substantiated by research.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Speaking Out on the Day of Silence

A pro-homosexual group called the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is the creator and promoter of the controversial 'Day of Silence'. On this day - which is planned for April 25 for this year - students are encouraged to take a vow of silence to demonstrate their support for the tolerance and acceptance of homosexual lifestyles. Many are planning to wear tape over their mouths throughout the day and hand out cards explaining and promoting the reason. At the conclusion of the day, pro-homosexual groups are hosting 'Breaking the Silence' events to draw even more attention to the homosexual agenda.

The alarming aspect of this issue is that many public schools are signing on to sponsor and support the 'Day of Silence' and related activities. GLSEN officially says that the event is to draw attention to the problem of bullying and violence towards homosexual students. However, it is abundantly obvious that the real purpose is to rally support and acceptance of the homosexual agenda in its entirety.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

REAL Leadership

Like many churches, at River of Life we believe it is very important to encourage continual growth and development of our church leadership and volunteer staff. We endeavor to provide ample opportunities for learning and development to take place. In addition to our other efforts, one of the things we do with our Leadership Team (Directors of departments) is to read and discuss various books together on a somewhat regular basis.

One of the best experiences we have had in this regard was reading and discussing the REAL Leadership series by John C. Maxwell. I highly recommend these books to other churches looking for an easy and fun method of promoting further learning and development among their church leadership.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Power of Encouragement in Marriage

Research demonstrates that a predominate characteristic of exciting, satisfying relationships is that marital partners choose to encourage one another. This should come as no surprise. The necessity of encouragement is a repetitive theme in God's Word.
Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

And, Hebrews 3:13 instructs, "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Encouragement in marriage is simply expressing to one's spouse, "I believe in you." This is accomplished both verbally and non-verbally. While this sounds easy, it generally does not come naturally. Often, people find difficulty in describing what it means to encourage one's spouse. The following are some characteristics of encouragement that are helpful to consider.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jesus Christ: The Son of God

I have been blessed for the past three weeks to teach our mid-week Bible Study at River of Life. The title of the three-part lesson I have been teaching is "Jesus Christ: The Son of God". As the name implies, the subject of the lesson is the Oneness Pentecostal Christology of the Sonship.

Several of the church members asked for my notes from these studies, so I am posting them here (link provided, below).

Some of the major themes of the study include:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Free Apostolic Leadership Training Resources

I was recently made aware of some professional, first-class leadership training resources that are available for free on the web. Dr. Fred Childs and the GracePoint Leadership Institute recently made several lessons from the FastForward series available online for download. Each lesson consists of several MP3 audio files and a workbook in PDF format.

Dr. Fred Childs is an internationally recognized leadership and organizational authority, author, keynote and conference speaker, pastor and evangelist. His books on the topic of leadership and organization include: Leadership Essentials, The Upside Down Church, and Beyond Imagination.

The FastForward series is designed specifically for Apostolic churches. The curriculum combines timeless biblical truth with cutting edge leadership concepts and tools.

CLICK HERE to visit the GracePoint Leadership Institute on the web.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Intimacy Through Communication

It is no secret that meaningful communication enhances the marital relationship. It is equally true that a lack of communication or negative communication will undermine a marriage. While most people are aware of these well established facts, few make a concerted effort to improve communication with their spouse.

There may be several reasons why couples are reluctant with respect to working to improve the communication in their marriage. Some simply don't know what to do. Others may be intimidated by the flood of information on the topic. It is easy to be confused regarding how to begin the task of improving communication.

Many marriage counselors are setting aside the exhaustive communication techniques and toolkits in favor of more simple, practical, and authentic approaches. One of the easiest ways to get started down the right path is understanding that there are progressive levels of communication. This is not a strategy or a technique, but simply an understanding that the content of what is discussed in our conversations dictates the level of emotional bonding that is created between two people.

There are basically five levels of communication. All five of these levels can be positive, and all of them are needed in a healthy relationship. However, the intimacy factor between two people deepens with each level - with one being the lowest level of intimacy and five being the highest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why Marriages Fail: Risk Factors and Predictors

There is no consensus regarding the factors that produce a happy marriage. Indeed, there are many and diverse positive characteristics that couples have discovered to make their marriages meaningful, satisfying, and mutually fulfilling. Certain themes tend to emerge in studying happy marriages such as communication, common interests, intimacy, and so forth. However, not all happy marriages have all of the same positive traits in common. In other words, there are many paths to marital bliss.

On the other hand, marriage researchers have known for decades that there are specific and solidly defined factors that are accurate predictors for marital failure. In fact, a doomed relationship can be predicted with over 90% accuracy when specific negative traits are present. Nearly all failed marriages can be attributed in some way to one or more of four well-documented characteristics.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Podcast Your Sermons for Free

At River of Life we recently setup an audio podcast of our Sunday sermons on our website (see http://riveroflifemuncie.com/podcast). We have already received considerable positive feedback and a few inquiries regarding how we set up the podcast.

Our podcast was actually extremely easy to set up. And, best of all, it was completely free.

The following is an explanation regarding how we setup our sermon podcast along with some suggestions that may help others who desire to do the same.