Meet and Greet Weekend



It’s Meet and Greet time! I’ve loved hosting these in the past, so I’m very excited to be hosting this one. Getting to know new bloggers and watching bloggers I like to get to know each other makes me happy!

This is a party, and it’s meant to be fun. My rules are simple:

ALL Bloggers are welcome!
Leave a link to your blog in the comment section with as much info on your blog as you want to share. (Social Media links too if you’d like)
If you think your readers would enjoy sharing their links, please re-blog to let them know they are invited! Share on social media too if it suits your fancy! The more, the merrier.
Check out the links left by others. I’ve met some of my favorite bloggers at meet and greets.
This party will be going on all weekend…cause that’s the way I roll…so feel free to visit throughout the weekend and leave your links as often as you’d like.

The Power of Building Relationships


Boot Camp By Phil Bandy

Two weeks ago I took a trip to the Cook County boot camp to join Derek Polansky, YFC’s Director of Juvenile Justice Ministry.  Boot camp was in a collection of buildings about a mile square – courthouses, minimum security, maximum security and more.  To get into the boot camp, you pass through metal detectors, show your ID, go through 3 or 4 doors where you are buzzed in and at each door you wait.

We met ten young men in the barracks and Derek told them today’s lesson would be a little different.

He chose four men and me, then assigned us roles.  I was the father, a smaller man was the mother, another was a 17-year-old, a third was a 12-year-old, and the tallest (about 6’ 3”) was the 5-year-old.  The guys in the barracks loved the last choice.

Derek took out a pad of Post-It notes and asked all the young men what the responsibilities were for a father in the family, which he wrote on the Post-It notes.  The first responsibility suggested was “protection” which struck me since some of the guys had joined gangs for the protection they should have received from their fathers.  Each Post-It note was put on my chest – provider, teacher, decision-maker, leader, lover – the list grew until the 10th note was placed on my chest “Be There.”

Derek did the same for the mother (who ended up with more than my list), then the young men posing as the other family members.

When the four of us had all of our responsibilities on our chests, Derek said “…the situation just changed…Dad has had it.  He’s sick of the kids, doesn’t love his wife anymore.  He just walked out.”  Then taking the notes off my chest, he asked who gets these now?  It was unanimous “mom”.  But mom already had 15 notes on “her” chest how can she handle all of hers and all of the father’s responsibilities?  The guys thought some could be passed on to the kids, but not many.  So what could be done?  They all agreed things are going to fall through the cracks; responsibilities were not going to be done.  One man mentioned that mom probably also lost the income the father was bringing in, so she takes a second job.  More things fall through the cracks.

Derek sat down, pulled out his Bible and read the story of God’s creation of man and woman, then the fall.  He asked if they saw any parallel between the fall of man and the loss of a father from the family.  A couple of guys did and agreed both decisions destroyed the future.  Three of the young men asked questions, made comments about their families and I felt maybe, just maybe the spirit was starting to work on them.

On our way back to the cars, Derek mentioned that he would be coming back to boot camp next week and was hoping that the man most verbal about the Bible reading and families would not be there, but be home…with his two kids.

Two Different Views of America



I honestly thought I was done writing on race for a while.  Naïve enough to believe that maybe things were getting better.  And then like the video clip in the opening of this post from the Godfather, events of the past week pull me back in.  Two more shootings.  More protest and the racial tension is heightened even further.

“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.”
― Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

I found myself watching a segment of the Bill O’Reilly show. As the details of the shooting in Charlotte were being uncovered, Mr. O’Reilly had a civil rights attorney as his guest.  They were discussing the events of the shooting.  One observation Mr. O’Reilly made was striking.  He said, “Well, we have to trust that the police’s information is correct.”  That is the heart of the problem with the two views of America.  For white America that is your starting point.  You believe the police.  You have no reason not to.  It’s likely most of your encounters with police have been fair and reasonable.  That is your reality.

Depending on where you are as a black American that may not be your reality. Your experience with the police may not have turned out so positively, or you may know someone whose experience ended with horrifying results.  As a black male, I was taught to be cautious, even afraid of the police.  So when a law enforcement officer pulls me over (very rarely has that happened) my heart races, I am on edge not knowing how this whole thing will turn out.  I am convinced this uneasiness is felt by both parties, and it is a recipe for disaster.  Two people, both on edge, both afraid of each other. One has a deadly weapon, one is defenseless.

I get the sense that so much of what is happening is based on fear.  Each side is afraid of the other.  What Mr. O’Reilly and his guest were attempting to solve is why?  Why are these shootings happening?  Why is the community reacting in such a violent and destructive way?  Mr. O’Reilly thought if the black community just understood the police were there to protect and serve everything would be ok.  The civil rights attorney was pointing out that the black community doesn’t feel protected or served, but victimized by the police.  So every new incident only feeds the narrative that black men are being victimized.  With that feeling, with that narrative, with the subsequent rioting, the fear on both sides only grows.  The gulf becomes larger and the possible racial explosion becomes more evident with each incident.

Only God’s love can tone down the rhetoric.  Only God’s love can drive out the fear.  We are a nation in need of repentance.  We have allowed Satan to create an atmosphere of suspicion and chaos among peoples and nations.  Like Hezekiah, we need to come before God and seek his forgiveness and healing.  Look at what happened when that occurred in 2 Kings 20:4-5,“And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David, your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”

I call on the people of God to bathe this situation in prayer.  We need to become a people on our knees praying for God to intervene.   God is grieved by what is happening, and if we pray to him, God will heal our land.  He will heal our divisions and create a culture of love and trust.  Only God can fix what is broken among us.

Other related posts on this topic:


Even The Wind and Waves Obey Him


My thoughts this Monday morning are focused on the power of Jesus over nature.  The reading is from Matthew 14:22-33

“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[e] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

In what area of your life is Jesus calling you to trust him today?  Are you by faith able to step out of the comfort of the boat and join him in the water?

Meet and Greet Weekend

Meet and greet are opportunities for you to give people a chance to know more about you.  It also gives you the opportunity to promote your blog.  To make this more fun.  Tell us what country you a…

Source: Meet and Greet Weekend

How to Motivate Volunteers Like Jesus


This is a famous fable about four people in the church whose names were Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

The church had financial responsibilities, and Everybody was asked to help. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But you know who did it? Nobody. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Then the church grounds needed some work, and Somebody was asked to help. But Somebody got angry about that, because Anybody could have done it just as well and, after all, it was Everybody’s job. In the end, the work was given to Nobody, and Nobody did an excellent job.

On and on this went. Whenever work was to be done, Nobody could always be counted on. Nobody visited the sick. Nobody gave liberally. Nobody shared his faith. In short, Nobody was a very faithful member.

Finally, the day came when Somebody left the church and took Anybody and Everybody with him. Guess who was left. Nobody![1]

When I read this fable, it just reminds me of how hard it is to motivate Anybody to do the mission work that Jesus gave Everyone to do. So, in the end, we have Nobody willing to volunteer in the church.  I want to share with you some ways Jesus motivated his followers.

Six ways Jesus Keep the Disciples motivated:

1)    Be a leader worth following

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:35-37

Jesus was not like typical king or religious leaders.  He did not look at the crowds and see them as people who should serve him.  Instead, he looked out and with a compassionate heart asked, “How can I serve them?”  He was a leader worth following.  A leader worth laying down your life for.  A leader worthy to take up your cross to help.

2)    Set an example

Jesus left us with a discipleship model. You watch, I do, we talk.  I do, you help, we talk. Then You do, I help, we talk.  You are sent, I watch, we celebrate, and God’s kingdom expands.

3)    Create an environment where they can grow

Jesus was there to protect them and allow them to grow.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26-31

4)    Make life interesting

“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons”. Matthew 10:5-8

Following Jesus is rarely dull.  After spending time preparing the disciples for meaningful impact in the world.  Jesus sends them out with the message of salvation they had heard Jesus proclaim countless times.  But he had them start out slow.  Go first to the Jews.  In other words stay for now in your comfort zone.  He wanted them to experience success.

My first door-to-door evangelism experience was in a rural white suburban neighborhood.  I want you to picture this.  I am a six-foot-five and two hundred sixty-pound African American male.  I walk up and ring your doorbell say, “Hello”, and then jump into the old Kennedy evangelism questions.  “If you were to die tonight…?” That is about as far as the conversation went before the door was closed and the police called.

Jesus had the divine wisdom not to put his disciples in a position that they would fail and become discouraged.  Are you putting volunteers in a position that they are doomed to fail?  If so, rethink that strategy.

5)    Offer incentives

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.  The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Matthew 9:40-41

I am not necessarily encouraging you to pay your volunteers.  What I am saying is given them some incentive.  Let them know that their time and effort is necessary and critical to the ministry of the church and our Lord Jesus Christ.

6)    Stir the pot

 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 9:34-39

Remind people that the work they are called to do has the power to change the world.  Jesus did not come into the world to bring peace but the stir things up.  He began to shake the foundations of the world.  To turn the world upside down.  Jesus came to fix what was broken and restore what was lost.  He came to redeem the world and reconcile a lost world through his death and rising to life again.  And we are joining him on this mission.  We are called to be people who stir things up.  Embrace your calling.  Be empowered by the task ahead.  You are world changers.

Other posts in this series:


[1] Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

TED: Why Good Leaders Make Us Feel Safe?

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.


Empowered for God’s Mission


In the first, blog on this topic of the mission, we took the careful approach of defining terms and wrote about the urgency of the mission. Now we want to spend time today discussing the power behind the mission manifesto of our King Jesus.

What Tools Are Given to The Troops?

When any king sends his troops into battle, he takes careful, attention to make sure those troops are properly trained and empowered to accomplish the mission he is sending them to perform. Our King Jesus sends his troops out with only one weapon to win the world for His kingdom, “the Gospel.” The mission mandate is clear, “Preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Baptize all the nations, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” Mark 16:16. The preaching of the Gospel includes baptism. Baptism is also the Gospel. It is the “visible Word”. King Jesus equips the troops for mission armed with His message of salvation; the Gospel converts the enemy and the recruit seals that promise of eternal life with the waters of baptism. Baptism seals the promise and the certainty of God’s grace and salvation. What an excellent weapon to take into battle with Satan and his army.

The Goal of the Mission.

When the Apostle Paul addressed King Agrippa, he describes how Jesus personally recruited him for the mission work. In Acts 26, “16 Get up! Stand on your feet! I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as my servant and witness of what you have seen and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your people and the Gentiles. I am sending you 18 to open their eyes. Then they can turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are made holy by faith in me.’”

What Paul discovered in a personal way through his encounter with the Resurrected King Jesus Christ was the Gospel alone is the means by which humanity is rescued.  Jesus sets us free from the hands of Satan.  Humanity receives a release from the chains of sin through forgiveness of sin won from us through the King’s offering of his life on Calvary’s cross. This new faith comes with an inheritance in heaven and an adoption into God’s family of faith.

The Objective of the Mission

This mission work is hard. The mission is done not for personal gain, as a matter of fact, it comes at a significant cost. You could lose dear friends and family. You could suffer persecution, even loss of life. You will not be popular. Instead, you will most like be alienated and hated. You may not be famous or be tasked to run a Fortune 500 company. None of those things is our target; that is not why we are here. We are here for the sole purpose to bring eternal life to the perishing, to build up the Kingdom of God. To place living stones, the lives of the regenerated, into the new Temple of God. The results of our mission work, its milestones, its landmark defining moments are not measured here on earth.That moment comes to light, is revealed; we see the treasures the mission work accomplished in heaven.

This mission accomplished moment does not point back to the missionaries; it is a Holy Spirit work, it is his celebration. The captives being set free, the lost sons and daughters are found, the afflicted soul comforted, that is what this Church thing is all about. It is not about meetings and building projects, or even denominations conventions and politics. It is about the lost, the brokenhearted; the disenfranchise all finding their place in the King’s kingdom through faith. This is the burden of the Gospel; this is the responsibility of the Church’s mission. This is the sole reason that we exist, move and have our being. God Bless His Church and God keep our eyes always firmly grounded in our mission.

Other blog posts in this series:

TED Talk: A Tale of two Americas

Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of “The True American,” tells the story of what happened next. It’s a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation.


Versatile Blogger Award


I was honored to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. First, of all versatile-blogger-award I love the name. Everyone says, “Find Your Niche! If you want to monetize your blog, the first thing you have to do is find something people want to buy, and find your niche.  I don’t write for fame and fortune.  I write because I love to write.  It gives me joy.  It allows my creative spirit to run free.  So I write about whatever God places on my heart.  I want people to read my blog and grow deeper in their understanding about the things of God.   If I did make some money I would take my wife on that trip to Europe we have always planned.   I really enjoy doing this so it doesn’t feel like it’s another job. So, my blog is about how God speaks to me. I’m a Christian, a father, a pastor though not serving a congregation at the moment, a son, and a brother.  I write about whatever inspires me, and I feel may inspire others.   I would say I do have a niche, Faith. However, that is a broad enough topic that  I guess that makes me versatile!

I am touched that I was nominated by Her blog is awesome, She writes about topics are interesting.  And as she would say not just for mommies. Check it out. Keith is a Pastor and isn’t afraid to tackle the tough topics, including racial tension, marriage from a biblical perspective, and challenges within the church. I find his posts to be inspiring, courageous, insightful, and thought-provoking. The Light Breaks Through – Learning to Live Life in God’s Grace.

To give you a sample of her writing here is how she described my blog. Keith is a Pastor and isn’t afraid to tackle the tough topics, including racial tension, marriage from a biblical perspective, and challenges within the church. I find his posts to be inspiring, courageous, insightful, and thought-provoking. The Light Breaks Through – Learning to Live Life in God’s Grace.

Please check out these fabulous blogs written by some genuine and lovely people.  Part of the reason I am sharing this award is not to self-promote that borders on ungodly.  But to give you a chance to discover others who are working hard to be a blessing to the world with their blogs. Here are some for you to check out.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Wilson a friend of over 20 years.

This blog is an online community for leaders of churches and Christian nonprofits who are engaging in intentional change. It is a safe place for risk takers. for parish pastors trying revitalize congregations and church planters starting from scratch. It is an energizing place for social entreprenuers and community architects.

For the past 30 years I have served in a wide range of roles in for-profit and nonprofits. I founded, worked on staff and served as a board member of para-church organizations. As an ordained minister I have served as a missionary-at-large, church planter, senior pastor as well as mission and ministry facilitator. For the past decade I have served on the staff of the Ohio District, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in facilitator and executive roles.

My posts follow two tracks. One focuses on leadership, discipleship and coaching while the other on organizational start-up, development and revitalization.

The Tony Burgess Blog

On his blog he says,  “I chronicle and curate the sacred, serious and silly things in my life. This is my online voice where I share what is in my head and on my heart with people far and wide.”

Giggles and Tales
Giggles and Tales debuted to enable me document some of my daily quirks and twists. I am here to pen down memories that stream into my mind refusing to let go. And the echoes from the corners of the world as well as my poetic instincts. Life has been benevolent and has afforded me the opportunity to experience diverse cultures through my vast travels. These different cultural shocks will reflect in my writings.





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